Dog owners warned of parvovirus by vet charity PDSA
An animal charity has warned dog owners in south west Wales to beware of a deadly virus after a rise in deaths.
Vets from the PDSA say their Swansea and Llanelli PetAid hospitals saw 16 suspected cases of parvovirus in the first three months of the year.
They say parvovirus is a severe, highly infectious disease which can often be fatal, particularly in puppies.
Dog owners are urged to contact their vet immediately if their pets suffer severe vomiting and diarrhoea.
Chris Wright, senior veterinary surgeon at Swansea PDSA, said: "The current mortality rate of this disease is very high.
"Despite intensive care delivered by our dedicated team, just three in ten dogs suffering from suspected parvovirus are surviving."
The main symptoms of parvovirus - which can be prevented by vaccination - are severe vomiting and diarrhoea.
The PDSA has advised owners of dogs displaying such symptoms to keep them isolated and contact their vet for advice immediately.
Owners are warned not to take sick dogs to veterinary surgeries without appointments for fear of spreading the disease to unvaccinated animals.
The charity says dogs suffering with the disease will often need intensive treatments, such as intravenous fluids, and even then they may not survive.
It says the recent cases in south Wales - across an area stretching from Port Talbot to Llanelli - have seen a particularly high mortality rate of 70%, even in adult dogs that are usually more likely to survive.
The PDSA has arranged a Vaccination Awareness Month in May to make owners aware of the risks facing unprotected pets.
Mr Wright urged owners to vaccinate their pets against parvovirus and other potentially fatal diseases as soon as possible.
"Every year our vets treat hundreds of pets with illness that vaccinations could have prevented," he said.
"Often the owners simply didn't realise the dangers facing their unvaccinated pets, and sadly many cases prove fatal.
"It can be heart-breaking for owners to lose their pets this way, or to see them suffering from an easily preventable illness."
Source: BBC News