Surge in fatal pet diseases

Prevention: Vet Sara Jones of Mysercough Vets with kitten Mittens
Prevention: Vet Sara Jones of Mysercough Vets with kitten Mittens
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Hard-pressed pet owners “cutting corners” on their animal’s vaccinations are behind a huge rise in fatal diseases, according to a leading veterinary chain.

Myerscough Vets, which has practices in Ashton, Lostock Hall, Freckleton, Clayton-le-Dale and St Annes, is running a ‘vaccine amnesty’ throughout March in a bid to reduce the likes of Parvo virus, distemper, viral cat flu and feline leukaemia.

A dog with the parvo virus

A dog with the parvo virus

Owners who haven’t vaccinated their pets for over 18 months will qualify for reduced-price boosters.

Claire Batty, head vet at Myerscough Vets said: “Over the past 18 months we have seen a 70 per cent upsurge in many preventable diseases such as Parvo and Feline Leukaemia, which have a high fatality rate.

“This has led to local outbreaks and the loss of beloved pets, so we want to offer something that is affordable for owners who have let the yearly vaccinations lapse.

“People are budgeting and are cutting corners with vaccinations. They will get their dog vaccinated as a puppy, and then not follow it up. It’s complete short-sightedness and leads to a lot of heartache and expense when animals become ill.”

It is estimated that only 62 per cent of the UK dog population and 49 per cent of the UK cat population are vaccinated.

Parvovirus is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs, with symptoms including mucus or blood in faeces, tiredness and loss of appetite.

The disease is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their faeces.

It can be especially severe in puppies and has two distinct presentations - a cardiac and intestinal form.

The cardiac form causes respiratory or cardiovascular failure in young puppies.

Treatment often involves veterinary hospitalisation. Vaccines can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91 per cent in untreated cases.

Feline leukaemia is a disease that impairs the cat’s immune system and causes certain types of cancer. It works in a similar way to human HIV.

This virus is responsible for a majority of deaths in household cats, affecting all breeds. Males are more likely to contract the infection than females, and it is usually seen between the ages of one to six years old.

It is spread between cats sexually, and also through fighting and in nose droplets.

For more information, call 01254 814863.