Pet owners warned as dogs die amid outbreak of deadly parvovirus in Limerick

Outbreak of deadly parvovirus in Limerick city

There have been eight confirmed cases of parvovirus in Limerick city this week PICTURE: CLARE STREET VETS/FACEBOOK

A LIMERICK vet has urged pet owners to vaccinate their dogs amid the outbreak of the deadly parvovirus in the inner city this week. 

Kathy Enright, of Clare Street Vets, told the Limerick Leader this Friday that of the eight confirmed cases in the past eight days, four dogs have died. 

She said, in her 13 years as a vet, she has seen 25 to 30 cases in total. 

Parvovirus is a highly virulent canine disease that has an average 90% fatality rate, particularly for puppies, even with medical intervention and therapy. 

“As vets, it’s one of those diseases we hate to see coming through the door because we know, even if we do everything according to the book and everything right, that they just might not pull through.”

The virus primarily affects the gastrointestinal area of a dog, causes aggressive bloody diarhhoea and vomiting. This is caused by the shedding of the lining of the stomach and the intestinal wall.

When this occurs, dogs lose their ability to absorb fluid, electrolytes, amino acids, glucose—all of which have to be replaced through IV “at a quicker rate than they are losing it”. 

As a result, the canine patients are even more vulnerable to secondary infections and diseases. 

Ms Enright urges pet owners to have their puppies take part in a vaccination programme to help prevent the contracting of the virus. 

“The primary course is two shots, and I think this is where a lot of people are falling down. They usually get a shot at eight weeks and at 12 weeks, and people are only giving them one shot. 

“Most of the cases that we are seeing have only had one vaccination.”

“Unless they have had the full primary vaccination course, they are not fully-vaccinated,” she explained. 

The city vet said the virus can be spread through direct contact with an infected dog during the “shedding phase” of the virus. 

“But we do see spread if dogs are sharing foodbowls and we suspect that we are getting cases where birds are, maybe, coming down to the foodbowls and waterbowls, or maybe rats are carrying the virus, then spreading it.”

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