There's a particularly nasty little virus out there, a parvovirus in fact, that can cause a spectacularly unpleasant and frequently fatal bout of vomiting and blood-soaked diarrhoea in dogs.
Without wanting to go into too much detail, quite apart from the pain, distress and dehydration, the parvovirus attacks the rapidly dividing cells of the intestines, breaking the barrier which normally exists between the gut contents and the bloodstream. Bacteria from the gut are then free to enter the blood, causing septicaemia.
As I said, it's nasty and if untreated, parvovirus infection kills 9 out of every 10 dogs infected.
The virus is also very resistant and can stay alive in the environment for a year or more, so it can be very difficult to eliminate once it arrives in a local area.
Treatment requires hospitalisation for intravenous fluids, antibiotics, pain relief and anti-vomiting medicines. I'm old enough to remember when parvovirus first appeared in the late 1970's - and the sight of veterinary clinics across the country overrun with these desperately sick dogs. It came as if from nowhere and within 2 years had spread across the world.
Mercifully, we now see very little of it in W2, but our colleagues at the Blue Cross in Victoria see it all the time. It's not very far away.
What should you do?
We strongly reccommend that you vaccinate your dogs against parvovirus. Because some puppies don't respond very well to their first vaccines, we also advise a simple blood test a few weeks later and then annually, just to make sure that they have become (and stay) fully protected.
Call us on 0207723 0453 if you need any more information.