Bristol vets' warning over rise of parvo virus in dogs

Vets are urging dog owners in Bristol to vaccinate their pets against a life-threatening virus following an increase in cases in the past two months.

Both the RSPCA and PDSA clinics in the city have seen about 20 dogs with symptoms of the parvo virus since May.

The clinics normally treat less than one dog a month with the virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Avon Lodge clinic, in Knowle, has seen 12 cases, including one death, in the past month.

Mandy Stone, manager of the RSPCA clinic, said: "It's a very effective vaccine. We wouldn't be seeing this outbreak if there wasn't a lot of unvaccinated dogs around.

'Steady flow'

"There's usually a smallish outbreak in the summer just because lots of people are out walking their dogs and there's a concentration of dogs meeting each other in the parks.

"We're getting cases from all over the city."

Keith Holton, a vet at Avon Lodge, said: "The last parvo virus I saw was probably two years ago, but we've had a steady flow over the last four weeks.

"We are getting the vast majority better, but it's a life-threatening illness. They can be in hospital for seven days at times.

"It's a nasty virus that attacks the gut lining, the bone marrow and sometimes the heart."

Linda Day, the PDSA's senior vet, said: "This sudden influx of cases is worrying. Parvovirus is often fatal and is particularly serious in puppies, as they also risk developing heart disease from the virus.

"Owners should be aware that if their dog starts vomiting or develops diarrhoea it is crucial to contact their local veterinary practice as soon as possible."

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