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Worcestershire owners urged to be on their guard
A KILLER disease is spreading among dogs in Worcestershire.
Owners are being urged not to neglect their pets’ health after four out of 77 strays have been found to have ‘parvo’, or canine parvovirus, a highly-contagious disease among dogs which can lead to a painful and horrific death.
Symptoms include bloody diarrhoea, sickness, lethargy and dogs being put off their food.
Worcestershire Regulatory Services’ dog warden, Pip Singleton, said: “The fact that four cases have been identified means that parvo must be prevalent in the area.
“All we can presume is that because of the current economic climate, dog owners are not getting their pets properly vaccinated.
“Parvo is a vile, disgusting disease which, although not contagious between humans, is highly so among the canine population.
“Not vaccinating your pets is not a good money-saving option, as they will become very ill which will mean high vet bills, although parvo, in most cases, leads to death.”
The dogs found to have the disease were picked up in Worcester, Redditch, Evesham and Hartlebury and were aged two weeks, five months, 15 months and two-years-old.
Mari Griffiths, dog trainer and head veterinary nurse at a Worcester practice, said: “Parvovirus most commonly affects puppies and young adult dogs that have not been vaccinated.
“It causes very severe vomiting and bloody diarrhoea, often leaving the dog increadibly dehydrated.
“Dogs can recover from theillness with lots of veterinary care but it is often fatal, especially in very young puppies.
“If you suspect your dog may have come into contact with an infected dog and is now showing symptoms, visit your vet as soon as possible.”
She said vaccination was the only protection against parvovirus, but new strains were developing all the time and “prevention is better than cure”.
The virus is spread through oral contact and is said to be virulent, contagious and extremely hardy, and has been found to survive in faeces and other organic material, such as soil, for over a year.
It survives extremely cold and hot temperatures and the only household disinfectant that kills it is bleach.
For more information on vaccinations call the Worcestershire regulatory services dog warden service on 01905 822799.
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