Vet explains only way to stop mystery dog illness sweeping across the UK

A highly-infectious disease is being spread among dogs in parts of the UK.

The nasty disease, known as parvovirus, reportedly causes horrible gastroenteritis-like symptoms, like vomiting and diarrhoea.

Martin Paterson, director at Donaldson's Vets, which has practices in Huddersfield, Calderdale and South Yorkshire, claims a "significant number" of dogs have tested positive for the virus, Yorkshire Live reports.

The worrying revelation comes as more and more dog owners report their pets falling ill as fears of a "mystery illness" sweeping inland from the coast grows.

Mr Paterson said that despite there often being an "upswing" in the number of dogs experiencing the symptoms at this time of year, his practises have seen a "higher level than has been the case previously".

He said: "We have been testing the majority of these cases for parvovirus and we have turned up a number of dogs who have tested positive.

"A lot of them are very ill and need quite a lot of intensive, inpatient management to be able to turn them around."

He said that the dogs testing positive for the virus do not seem to be showing the "very, very acute signs" that made the virus so deadly in the late 1980s to 1990s.

Mr Paterson said that not all canines showing the symptoms are testing positive for the highly-infectious virus, but stressed a "significant number" are.

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"It is difficult to be sure whether it is just a case of us testing more dogs for parvovirus, and that is reflecting what is going on more widely, or whether there is a unique issue in this area," he said.

The director of Donaldson's Vets, who were made famous when they featured on Channel 5 show The Yorkshire Vet, said experts are having difficulty uncovering the pattern of infection.

"We are seeing dogs that have been to the seaside – where a lot of these reports are coming from – but we are also seeing a lot of dogs with gastroenteritis who have stayed locally," he said.

"We have not been able to find any pattern to connect these dogs. They are of all ages, all breeds and all geographical areas across the branches of our practice.

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"They (infections) do seem to happen quite randomly."

Mr Paterson claims the best thing for owners to do to protect their canines is to ensure they have had their booster vaccinations.

He said: "Vaccination is highly effective at preventing serious illness and we do wonder whether some of the less severe cases that we have seen are because of these extra vaccinations suppressing how ill animals become.

"This is not coronavirus – there is no evidence that it is connected to Covid in any way.

"Booster vaccinations for dogs need to be done every 12 months – so if your dog hasn't had their booster in that time, they are potentially susceptible to parvovirus."

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