DOG owners in Uttoxeter are being warned they must ‘urgently’ vaccinate their pets before a deadly disease breaks out in town.
Vets have said a highly-contagious fatal parvovirus outbreak in Stoke-on-Trent could ‘easily’ spread to Uttoxeter.
Symptoms for the incurable illness include vomiting, depression, being off food, weight loss, extreme diarrhoea and passing blood.
Unvaccinated puppies are at highest risk of contracting the disease and vets are urging owners in and around town to protect their pups.
Catrina Durose, a veterinarian working at Abbeyfields Vets, in Rocester, told the Post and Times there are several ways parvovirus can spread.
She said: “Parvovirus is a horrible disease and is so unnecessary. It’s highly-contagious and is passed from dog to dog and by contaminated faecal material.
“The virus can remain in the environment for up to a year and be spread around on vehicles and people’s footwear.
“Although the outbreak of parvovirus is in Stoke at the moment, the nature of the virus means that it could quickly spread further afield and, scarily, be on our doorstep before we know it.”
Ms Durose said owners who fail to vaccinate their animals or allow them outside before vaccination are ‘playing with fire’.
She said: “I believe vaccinating is a basic requirement as part of responsible pet ownership along with feeding a balance diet, micro-chipping and exercising your dog.
“Every owner should ensure their puppy receives a vet check and primary vaccination course and all adult dogs are provided with yearly booster vaccinations to protect them from diseases such like parvovirus.
“Puppies are often vaccinated at eight and 10 weeks but can receive their first vaccine from as early as six-weeks-old.
“A puppy is not fully immune and therefore unable to go outdoors for walks until one week after their second vaccine – so, at the earliest, 11-weeks-of-age. Anyone who risks taking their puppy out sooner is just playing with fire.”