A potentially deadly virus called Parvovirus is putting dogs across Yorkshire regions at risk.
Parvovirus is highly infectious in dogs and experts are worried the virus could spread nationwide.
Animal welfare charity Blue Cross have offered advice and information about Parvovirus.
What is Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease which can be fatal in some cases.
The virus attacks cells in a dog’s intestines so they are unable to absorb vital nutrients. This means a dog or puppy becomes incredibly weak and dehydrated.
What are the symptoms of Parvovirus?
Symptoms include: foul smelling diarrhoea with blood in it, vomiting, little to no appetite, collapse, depression, fever and sudden death.
Which dogs are at risk?
Young puppies and dogs who are unvaccinated or behind on booster injections are the most at risk.
Young pups between six weeks and six months old are more likely to have secondary infections and risk dying from dehydration.
Parvo spreads the fastest in towns and cities with a large population of unvaccinated dogs.
How does Parvovirus spread?
Parvovirus is highly contagious.
It can take seven days for a dog to show signs of the virus after they have caught Parvo.
Parvo spreads through any form of contact with bodily fluids, including a dog’s poo and vomit.
Dogs can also contract Parvo by sniffing another dog’s poo.
If your dog has come into contact with a Parvo-infected dog’s bedding, food and water bowls, carpet or a kennel, they could contract the virus.
Humans can pass Parvo onto their pet via their shoes, clothing and human hands.
How do you prevent your dog getting Parvovirus?
Dogs should be vaccinated against Parvo from the age of six weeks.
A puppy should have their first vaccine at six to eight weeks old, and revaccinated two weeks later. Puppies should be vaccinated once more at one years of age.
Vets can advise you on the Parvovirus vaccinations after this age.
What should I do if I suspect my dog has Parvovirus?
If you believe your dog has Parvo, call your local vet immediately for advice.
Tell your vet what symptoms your pet has and whether they’ve been in contact with a Parvo-infected dog.
Most deaths occur within 48-72 hours after the symptoms begin so it is best to seek help as soon as possible.
If you suspect your pet is infected, keep them away from areas where there’s a high chance of dogs.
How is Parvovirus treated?
There are currently no drugs to treat Parvo however treatment is designed to reboot a dog’s immune system so they can fight off the disease.
Your pet will likely need hospitalisation.
Dogs and puppies are put on a drip and given fluids to prevent extreme dehydration.
If your pet has caught a secondary infection, they may be given antibiotics.
The average hospital stay is five to seven days.
Can humans catch Parvovirus from dogs?
Humans cannot catch Parvo however they can pass the virus on from one dog to another.