Puppy recovers from deadly virus after owner spots signs
Last Updated: 19/12/2023
A young puppy had a lucky escape after her owner spotted that she was showing signs of parvovirus, a potentially fatal disease.
Labrador Retriever Paisley was only 10-weeks-old when she picked up the highly contagious virus.
Vets are now appealing to dog owners to make sure that they are up to date with their vaccinations, as they prepare for a possible rise in the often-deadly parvovirus.
Paisley’s relieved owner, Cathy Ball, works as a veterinary nurse at My Family Vets practice Cheshire Pet Vets in Sandbach. Thankfully, Cathy’s expertise meant that she was able to spot the early symptoms of parvovirus when Paisley stopped showing interest in food.
“She hadn’t been keen on her breakfast, which is very unusual with Labradors, and was a little bit sick so I took her to work to keep an eye and got the parvo test done just to be sure.”
Paisley became ill so quickly that she needed to be referred for round the clock intensive care at Pride Veterinary Centre in Derby, a My Family Vets clinics.
The team at Pride Vets was led by Tiago Henriques, a Resident in Internal Medicine.
“Paisley was very ill when she came in and I was concerned that we might not be able to save her,” said Tiago. “We had to continue with the supportive treatment she had already had, put her on a feeding tube and give her anti-nausea medication to stop her being sick."
“We monitored her 24 hours-a-day in our intensive care unit and it was about five days before, happily, we saw real signs that she was going to be okay.”
The lifesaving treatment was boosted by the fact Paisley had already been given some protection by having her first parvovirus vaccination.
“I got her home at eight weeks and was taking every precaution to keep her safe before she got her second vaccine at 10 weeks”
“She was just two days short of being able to get that (her second vaccine) when she was diagnosed with parvovirus. Often at work we see animals who are already pretty sick with vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and lethargy but we caught it early with Paisley.”
For Cathy, who knew only too well that often dogs don’t recover from parvovirus, it was an agonising wait.
“She’s my baby and it was so upsetting to see her so ill and then wait for news,” said Cathy. “I’ve seen so many dogs die from this so I had to be realistic about her prospects, but they did an amazing job at Pride Vets and I honestly can’t thank them enough.
“Thankfully, she’s healthy, growing fast and is nearly six months now.”
Cathy is sure that having had the first vaccine shot would have helped Paisley win her fight against parvovirus. She’s urging other dog owners to make sure their pets are up to date with their vaccinations.
“I can’t urge owners enough to make sure they get their dog vaccinated,” added Cathy. “That’s literally a lifesaver.”
Read more: What is parvovirus in dogs?
Edward Davies, Chairman of the UK Clinical Board at My Family Vets, echoes Cathy’s views on vaccinations and spoke of his concerns about a potential surge in parvovirus cases.
“There are several reasons why we are really concerned about seeing an increase in cases of parvovirus and our practices have been taking steps to brace themselves for a potential resurgence in this disease as well as ensuring they are encouraging their clients to keep up to date with dog vaccinations.
“Due to the lockdown puppy boom and the whole Covid situation, ensuring preventative health care has been correctly followed for all pets has been a real challenge. The potential resurgence of parvo has been quite a worry during this time.
“Luckily, dogs and puppies can receive a vaccine against parvovirus. Puppies can get their first vaccination when they are 6-8 weeks old, with a follow-up injection 2-4 weeks later."