Disease which can be deadly in dogs detected in Norwich

Picture of dogs being vaccinated at the against the parvovirus at the Paws RSPCA Centre on Barrack S

Picture of dogs being vaccinated at the against the parvovirus at the Paws RSPCA Centre on Barrack Street. Photo: Angela Sharpe - Credit: Archant © 2006

Multiple cases of a deadly disease which can be fatal for dogs have been found across Norfolk and Waveney.

The first instance of parvovirus, which is highly contagious and attacks cells in a dog's body, was reported at Three Rivers Veterinary Group in Beccles on Saturday.

But since, Companion Care Vets, in Norwich, said they had confirmed cases at both their Longwater and Hall Road branches.

And anecdotal reports of cases in Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Lowestoft had also been received.

In a Facebook post, Companion Care Vets said: 'Whilst we do not want to cause alarm we also want to make people aware of the disease.

'Parvovirus is an infectious disease which can be spread between dogs both directly, through direct contact with an infected dog, and indirectly, for example via infected faeces.

'Most cases of parvovirus are seen in immunocompromised dogs, generally between six weeks and six months old, although it can affect older dogs too. Symptoms of parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhoea (sometimes bloody) anorexia and fever.

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'Parvovirus is one of the diseases we commonly vaccinate against. This particular case involved unvaccinated puppies so we would urge clients to vaccinate their dogs.'

The most recent serious outbreak of parvovirus in Norfolk was in 2006, when about 70 dogs were infected and more than 40 died.

Then, in 2010 several more canines were infected, with one fatality.

There is no specific cure for parvovirus, which causes heart disease and is most dangerous to young dogs and puppies, so owners are urged to ensure their pets are vaccinated.

It can live on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors, and it is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract the virus from the street.

Despite the reported cases, the organisers on the Catton Park Dog Show in Norwich this Sunday said the event would go ahead.

But they asked anyone whose pets displayed symptoms of parvovirus to stay away.

Mayank Seth, medical director at the Animal Health Trust, said: 'The major clinical signs to look out for are vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy and a loss of appetite. Parvovirus is commonly vaccinated against, so the risk to dogs that have been fully vaccinated and are up to date with their vaccines is small.

'The disease can be severe or fatal in some instances but can be treated successfully in others, particularly if identified quickly and aggressively treated. If owners are worried about their dog, they should contact their vet straightaway.'