Dogs died from virus on shoes'
PUBLISHED: 14:48 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:49 12 August 2010
A DEVASTATED dog owner who lost five beloved pets to a deadly virus is warning other owners to get their animals vaccinated immediately. Paula Wilde, 38, of Pearswood Road, Erith, lost one dog, Jess, and four puppies in a matter of weeks after they cont
A DEVASTATED dog owner who lost five beloved pets to a deadly virus is warning other owners to get their animals vaccinated immediately.
Paula Wilde, 38, of Pearswood Road, Erith, lost one dog, Jess, and four puppies in a matter of weeks after they contracted Parvovirus in January.
Mrs Wilde had thought that the homeopathic medicine she gave her dogs was sufficient enough to vaccinate against the deadly virus but it wasn't until her dogs became ill that she found out it wasn't.
She said: "I am absolutely devastated and I don't want anyone to go through what I have. I still cry now, its like losing your children. My dogs were so lovely.
"I lost a two-year-old called Jess, a five-month-old called Tippy Toes, and three lovely 11-week-old puppies.
"What made it even worse was seeing the suffering they experienced. I didn't believe that Parvovirus was something I had to worry about, particularly for the puppies as they had never left my house and all the dogs were on homeopathics at the time of contracting the disease.
"Unfortunately the virus was brought into my house, probably on someone's shoes. It then spread very quickly.
"The whole experience has been very distressing and expensive. I've seen the dreadful consequences of Parvovirus at first hand and it's been a really terrible way to find out."
Mrs Wilde has only one dog, Belle, remaining, which has now been vaccinated.
According to vet Kate Arrowsmith of St Paul's Veterinary Clinic, St Paul's Cray, who treated Mrs Wilde's dogs, the main danger is the growing number of unvaccinated dogs who are spreading the disease.
"There was a huge outbreak of Parvovirus in the 1970s and, to combat it, virtually all owners routinely vaccinated their dogs," she said.
"Since then the disease has been much more controlled. Unfortunately, the relatively low level of incidence has perhaps made owners think that Parvovirus is no longer a threat.
"Fewer dogs are being vaccinated and, as a result, cases of this truly awful disease are once again on the increase.
"Mrs Wilde's experience is extreme but sadly not unique. Other practices and the PDSA are all reporting cases of Parvovirus. We urge dog owners and breeders to take the threat seriously and vaccinate their pets."
Parvovirus causes great suffering to dogs and is all too often fatal. The virus attacks the lining of the dog's digestive system, leaving it unable to absorb nutrients or liquid.
Symptoms include fever, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite.
For further information about Parvovirus, contact Kate Arrowsmith at St Paul's Cray Veterinary Clinic on 0208 300 3038 or your own veterinary surgeon.
St Paul's is holding a 'vaccine amnesty' for dogs and cats during March and April. Pet owners who get their pets vaccinated during this period pay only for the first vaccination and receive the second free.