Killer virus strikes down Pendle dogs

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EIGHT puppies from Pendle have been struck down by a killer virus.

Vets have issued a warning to dog owners to get their pets vaccinated following an outbreak of parvovirus in the town.

Stanley House Veterinary Surgery in Albert Road, Colne, and Leeds Road, Nelson, has treated eight puppies with the disease over the past couple of weeks but in all the cases the disease has proved fatal.

Vet Patrick Moore said: “We had a litter of puppies brought in by a dog warden. I think they had been abandoned and the virus was at a very advanced stage. We have unsuccessfully tried to treat a couple of the puppies but most of them we have had to put down.”

Parvovirus is a contagious disease and can affect any breed of dog. It is passed on when dogs come into contact with infected faeces. Puppies are particularly at risk and symptoms include vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. A dog with parvo will also seem very ill and give off a pungent smell.

Dog welfare officer Kat Bullas said: “Puppies are usually vaccinated against parvo, but the vaccination does not last forever as some dog owners believe. It is so important owners take their dogs to the vets for booster injections every year. They help to prevent pets picking up infections such as that caused by the parvovirus.

Mr Moore has put the outbreak of the virus down to low vaccination levels, with only 50% of dogs given their annual boosters.

“The only way to ensure your dog is protected against life-threatening diseases such as parvo is to ensure they receive an annual vaccination to boost their immunity” he said.

Coun. James Starkie of Pendle Council’s Environmental Crime Team added: “Here is another important reason for owners to clear up after their dogs.”