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Parvovirus alert for dog owners

PUBLISHED: 21:47 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:26 06 July 2010

Dog-owners are being urged to get their pets vaccinated against a highly infectious virus which has broken out in Norfolk.

Dog-owners are being urged to get their pets vaccinated against a highly infectious virus which has broken out in Norfolk.

Parvovirus last struck Norwich in 2006 when around 70 dogs were infected and more than 40 died.

Now a new outbreak has infected a number of pets in Norwich and Long Stratton.

Julie Bond, branch manager of RSPCA Norwich and Mid-Norfolk, warned today that the disease is “very, very infectious” and urged dog owners to get their pets vaccinated as soon as possible.

The disease is highly contagious because it is transmitted via dog faeces rather than direct contact with other animals. It can be carried around on people's shoes and get into homes where it can stay infectious for several months.

There is no specific cure to parvovirus, which causes heart disease and is most dangerous to young dogs and puppies. The main symptoms are vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, rapid dehydration, high fever and depression.

Ms Bond said: “So far, it seems that the outbreak is in isolated areas, but from previous experience it spreads rapidly given the nature of the virus transmission.”

Vet Susan Howard, of Howard's Neutering Clinic in Hall Road, discovered the first known case in the West Earlham a week ago when she had to put a dog down. She said she had also heard of two more cases in the city, and the RSPCA confirmed there were cases in Long Stratton.

James Harvey, of Milles Breck, Taverham, has echoed the RSPCA's pleas to after nearly losing his two-month old puppies to the killer virus in 2006.

He told of a traumatic few days where Toby and Bobby were vomiting and suffering diarrhoea, before recovering after £700 worth of treatment.

Mr Harvey said: “I just thank my lucky stars they survived. There's nothing worse than seeing an animal suffering and every dog owner should be worried. It's a nasty disease. It eats the animal from the inside out.”

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