The Vet Says

CONTINUING our series of articles contributed by the vets and nurses at the Thrums Veterinary Group.

You’ve all heard of Parvovirus but fortunately most of our dog owning clients have been lucky never to see the devastation that this infection can cause.

The disease first appeared in Scotland in 1978 and because dogs had no immunity to it, many veterinary practices were having to deal with several cases every week.

Such is the severity of this condition that sadly, many dogs succumbed very quickly after a very unpleasant illness.

Essentially the disease causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea, usually with significant amounts of blood being passed before they quickly become dehydrated and weak.

Intensive treatment will save some, but sadly not all.

Fortunately, an extremely effective vaccine became available very quickly and this disease declined very rapidly to the extent that, until recently, cases were very rare.

Indeed, many younger vets and nurses have been spared the soul destroying task of trying to nurse a “Parvo puppy”.

Sadly we are now seeing the situation whereby some dog owners are starting to become complacent and deciding not to bother with vaccination as “it’ll never happen to them”, or they will have their puppy vaccinated initially and then forget about the very important boosters later in life.

Unfortunately this has led to the recent resurgence in infection levels and indeed, many of you may be aware that there recently have been a number of confirmed cases in this area, leading to serious concerns amongst local vets that there may be more to come.

The virus which causes Parvo is extremely resilient and after being passed out in the faeces of an infected dog, can remain infective for many months.

It is all too easy for your dog to pick up this life threatening disease simply by sniffing at faeces from another dog. Indeed, you could quite conceivably bring some infective material into the house on your shoes.

A misguided phrase we often hear is that “she is never at risk because she only ever goes out on a lead”.

Sadly, a lead offers no protection at all against infection!

In conclusion, if your dog has never been vaccinated or if you have perhaps let its boosters lapse, we would strongly urge that you contact your veterinary surgery as soon as possible and arrange to have it properly protected.

The vaccine is extremely effective, very safe and indeed, may well save your pet’s life.

Furthermore, the lifetime cost of vaccinating your dog against the major disease threats equates to less than 10 pence per day so there can be no excuse for neglecting this.

Please don’t put your dog’s life at risk. Contact your vet today.