There has been an unfortunate rise in UK cases of canine parvovirus as a result of the pandemic with cases almost doubling since the start of the year with statistics showing a reported rise of 82% of cases seen in veterinary practices across the UK from the same period in 2020. The huge rise in the devastating and incredibly infectious disease is due to the combination of missing vaccinations during lockdowns, the huge rise in new puppy ownership and the attractive price tags causing an influx of irresponsible dog breeding.

This is what you as a dog owner need to know!

Parvo is a highly infectious virus which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs and puppies. Unvaccinated dogs, particularly those under 6 months of age are most at risk and can catch parvovirus from an infected dog, an infected dog poo or anything an infected dog has touched such as a dog lead, food bowl, bedding, human hand’s and clothes.

Parvovirus symptoms include:
• Diarrhoea (foul smelling, watery and bloody)
• Vomiting
• Reduced appetite
• Extreme low energy (lethargy)
• Fever

In most cases of the above symptoms your dog will have likely picked up a bug, but it is always best to get them checked over by a professional – especially if they are not fully vaccinated. If we suspect your dog may be contagious, we will ask you to wait in the car until ready to be seen and extra precautions will be used including full PPE and rigorous sanitisation protocols.

For the best chance of survival in positive cases of canine parvovirus, prompt veterinary treatment is required which includes a combination of intensive nursing care, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, anti-sickness medication and stomach protectants. Most dogs who receive veterinary treatment quickly survive parvo, but it’s often fatal without treatment. Sadly, because it’s such a nasty disease, some dogs die from parvo even if they are treated quickly. Dogs that are lucky enough to survive a parvovirus infection are often infectious for a few weeks after they recover, and the virus can then live in the environment for up to a year.

Prevention is better than cure. To reduce the risk of parvovirus to your dog, you should:

• Complete a primary vaccination course and vaccinate a yearly booster thereafter. If you choose not to yearly vaccinate your dog, it is very important to titre test their immunity to the infectious disease.
• Do not allow your dogs yearly booster vaccination to lapse by over three months. Should this happen, the primary vaccine course should be repeated.
• Do not let your unvaccinated puppy walk outdoors or mingle with other dogs outside of your own household. Ensure any existing dogs you own are fully vaccinated well before bringing a new puppy home.
• Buy and rehome responsibly. Always buy from a responsible breeder or reputable rehoming centre. If you are getting a puppy, make sure you see the litter with their mum and check that she’s up to date with her vaccines. All the puppies should be healthy and bright with no signs of illness.

Should you have any further worries or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us on 01670 457271.