Dog owners are praying for rain after several pets fell ill with the deadly canine illness parvovirus in Leeds this summer.
Vets from the White Cross Group, which has practices in Guiseley and Roundhay, said the heatwave earlier this summer was to blame for the outbreak - which spreads more easily in dry weather as dog faeces does not wash away.
How to stop your dog getting parvovirus - the signs to look out for
Recent rainfall has caused the number of new cases to drop - but an Indian summer could see a further spike.
A vaccine is available, but owners need to make sure their pets' injections are up to date to ensure they are still protected.
So far, one dog has died after being walked in Bramley, while two more, in Bramley and Pudsey, ended up in a critical condition.
The disease has a 50 per cent fatality rate and is highly contagious.
James Harris from White Cross Vets said:-
“There have been several cases in the Leeds, Guiseley and Bradford areas during July and August, but we have not seen any new cases over the last week in Leeds. There are still outbreaks in other places across the UK, but the recent wet weather has helped a lot, as it washes the deadly virus, which is spread mainly through dog faeces, away into the earth.
“Anyone who is concerned that their dog might be showing signs of the highly contagious parvovirus, which is one of the most contagious and dangerous diseases that dogs face and can often kill within a few days, should contact a vet straight away. Symptoms include diarrhoea, severe vomiting, loss of appetite or sudden weight loss, dehydration, bloody faeces, a high temperature and lethargy.
“Dog owners also really need to make sure that they are up to date with vaccines and puppies must receive their core vaccines. The easiest and safest way to protect dogs against parvovirus is by vaccinating against it and keeping up to date with the annual vaccinations. Most of the cases that we’ve seen in the latest outbreak have been dogs that have fallen behind with their annual injections or puppies that haven’t been properly vaccinated. The simple solution is for dog owners to get their pets booked in now for a vaccination to avoid them falling victim to this devastating disease.”
Leeds dogs who fell victim to parvovirus
- Dude, a German shepherd puppy who is believed to have caught the disease in Bramley Fall Woods. After several days of intensive treatment, he is now back home with owner Jenny Tompkins and her family.
- Betsy, a King Charles Cavalier spaniel from Pudsey whose owner, Carl Scoines, lives near Queen's Park. She ended up in a critical condition.
- Patch, a border collie who died from multiple organ failure just hours after being walked on the Swirly Path in Bramley. Vets said it was the worst case of the disease they had ever seen.