London dog owners warned to vaccinate animals after nine deaths from parvovirus
London vets are warning dog owners to ensure their pets are vaccinated against parvovirus after seeing tragic spike of nine deaths so far this year.
Animal charity Blue Cross has seen 23 dogs rushed to their animal hospital in Victoria for emergency care.
Just three parvovirus cases were seen by the charity in the same period last year with vets fearing that the cost-of-living crisis has led to struggling owners cutting back on vet expenses and vaccinations.
Parvovirus attacks cells in a dog’s body, including in the intestines and stops them from being able to absorb vital nutrients. This means that the dog or puppy will become very weak and dehydrated.
Symptoms of parvovirus include foul-smelling diarrhoea with blood in it, vomiting, loss of appetite, collapse, depression, fever and it can even result in sudden death.
The charity said the most recent deaths include five 12-week-old puppies from a litter of seven.
The surviving two puppies needed 24-hour care but are now said to be recovering in one of the charity’s foster home.
A Staffordshire Bull Terrier, 8, and a two-year-old Poodle have also been treated by the hospital for the virus.
Last month a four-month-old unvaccinated puppy, which had been bought from Gumtree, died after vets were unable to save them from the virus.
A Blue Cross survey found nearly 20 per cent of owners across the UK had been unable to pay for a vet bill over the previous three months.
The disease can quickly spread to other dogs and be passed on by owners from one dog to another on their clothes, shoes or hands.
Amanda Rumball, London Welfare Officer at Blue Cross, said: “We are very concerned about the rise in unvaccinated puppies and dogs we’re seeing and the number of cases of this deadly disease.
“The dog wardens I work with are also seeing more pups dumped with parvovirus, most likely from unscrupulous sellers who have bred to make a quick profit but then been unable to sell a sick pup.”
She added that some breeders lie about vaccinations and urged pup parents to check.
She said: “The loss of a family pet is hard not only on the owner but on our teams providing round the clock care to try and help these pets survive.”
Pups can be vaccinated from the age of six weeks. They will then need a second vaccine followed by regular boosters as advised by a vet.
For more information visit bluecross.org.uk