Vet’s warning as circumstances of lethal canine virus surge after growth in lockdown puppies

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Pet owners were urged to get their dogs vaccinated after suspicions of deadly parvoviruses rose by 129 percent.

Infections rose in the first three months of 2021 compared to the same period last year, researchers say.

It is believed that a potential spike in cases could be due to the massive boom in lockdown puppies, as well as concerns that surgeries for routine thrusts continue to be performed.

One such case was the Labrador Retriever puppy Paisley, who was only a few weeks old when she became infected with the highly contagious parvovirus.

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Paisley fought in intensive care for a week, but luckily the puppy had already received her first vaccinations

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After a week-long fight in the intensive care unit, she is now safe and sound with her owner, the vet Cathy Ball.

But things could have turned out very differently for the poor puppy if she hadn’t received her first vaccinations at six weeks old.

Cathy had spotted signs early on that something was not quite right, but Paisley’s condition went downhill pretty quickly, which resulted in her being referred to the 24/7 intensive care unit at the Pride Veterinary Center in Derby, the part of the My Family Vets network is from clinics.

Cathy worked in a vet herself and recognized the importance of vital vaccinations and boosters. She had done everything possible to protect her pup from the often deadly virus.

Paisley stands in her house with leg warmers.

Paisley is one of the lucky puppies as the parvovirus has a high mortality rate in puppies

The life-saving treatment in the state-of-the-art hospital was reinforced by the fact that Paisley had already received some protection from her first parvovirus vaccination.

Many new owners have been lured into buying bad puppies by seedy dealers and puppy farm bandits. But Cathy meticulously checked the breeder and parents first.

“I made sure all the health checks were done, saw her with her mother and knew she had her first vaccinations after six weeks,” said Cathy.

“I took her home when she was eight weeks old and took every precaution to protect her before she got her second vaccine after ten weeks.

“But she only had two days to get this when she was diagnosed with parvovirus. We often see animals at work that are already quite sick from vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lethargy, but we caught it early on with paisley.

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“She hadn’t cared about her breakfast, which is very unusual in Labradors, and was a little sick, so I took her to work to keep an eye and got the parvo test just to be sure.”

When it was positive, Paisley was given antiviral medication and a drop, but after three days of breastfeeding by Cathy and Nursing in Cheshirepet, Paisley became so ill she had to be referred to Pride Vets.

“I’m a vet nurse and had done all I could but I knew it was time to step down, just be an owner and let someone else take care of her,” said Cathy.

The Pride Vets team was led by Tiago Henriques, an internal medicine resident.

“Paisley was very sick when she walked in and I feared we might not be able to save her,” said Tiago.

“We had to continue with the supportive care she already had, put her on a feeding tube and give her anti-nausea medication to keep her from getting sick.

“We monitored her in our intensive care unit 24 hours a day and it was luckily five days before we saw any real signs that she was going to be fine.”

For Cathy, who knew all too well that dogs often fail to recover from parvovirus, it was an excruciating wait.

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“She’s my baby and it was so annoying to see her so sick and then wait for news,” said Cathy.

“I’ve seen so many dogs die from it that I had to be realistic about their prospects, but they did a great job at Pride and I honestly can’t thank them enough.

“It took me a week to get it back and that was the longest week of my life.

“Fortunately, she is healthy, growing quickly, and is now almost six months old.”

Cathy is certain that the first vaccination shot would have helped Paisley win her battle for life and death.

And after seeing the prognosis in other dogs, Cheshirepets checked their puppy logs and are now adding a third parvovirus vaccination after 16 weeks.

“I can’t push the owners enough to make sure they get their dog vaccinated,” added Cathy. “That’s a lifesaver.”

Veterinarians are now urging dog owners to make sure their pets are vaccinated as they prepare for a possible surge in the potentially fatal parvovirus disease.

The warning from the UK’s largest group of veterinarians, My Family Vets, follows an investigation that shows up to 45 percent of registered pet owners have not received vital vaccinations and boosters.

“It is really worrying to see so many puppies going unprotected and we encourage pet owners to keep up to date on dog vaccinations,” said Tiago.

“The surgeries have taken every step to ensure they can see pets safely and continue to get these vital vaccinations.”

My veterinary practices across the county added additional Covid-19 prevention measures over the past year to ensure owners can continue to receive routine vaccinations.