Parvovirus Outbreak!

What Can You Do To Help?

We are spending a lot of funds on treatment at the moment as several dogs are infected. This is not just money needed for treatment, but also extra sanitizing necessities for the staff who deal with the puppies. We have also had to cope with the sad loss of some dogs, and we do not get their cremation for free… it’s all money that should be spent on other areas of the shelter, and on other dogs that have already got chronic conditions we are treating.

If you could spare even as little as £3 we could come together as a community, ensuring that the virus doesn’t wipe out our dogs or our resources!

Here is the link to donate an amount of your choice. If you would like to leave a message of encouragement for the staff with your donation we can pass this on for you.

(We will also be running a Facebook Fundraiser in the future alongside this, so if you prefer you can wait to donate via that platform. We really appreciate your assistance and will keep the website updated with our progress.)

What is the treatment for a dog with Parvovirus?

In other words, what your donation money will get spent on.

We use a serum and give them an extra ParvoC vaccination. For cleaning the containment areas we have to purchase special vet grade products, and we use a germicidal lamp and ozone generator – which adds to our electricity bill. For the time being every other dog must have the ParvoC vaccine too, not only the combination vaccine that they usually receive… So that’s extra £40 per dog on top of their normal expenses at least. For an individual Parvo positive puppy or dog their treatment alone can cost in excess of £200. These are expenses that in any normal year would be at a minimum, but during an outbreak we cannot put any animal’s life at risk.

How Did This Happen?

It seems that 2020 has a few more cruel blows to get in before the year is out. We like to keep you updated with news at the shelter, but sometimes this can be heartbreaking. While we ended the year on a high with Fran’s head shave event raising over £400, Rowan’s online dog show raising over £3000, less dogs in the shelter than last Christmas, and nearly all of the enclosures have been covered by roofing… there is something that has been brewing in the local district over the last few months.

We, as humans, have been dealing with a Corona Virus situation. We have rules to follow, we are told to be careful about who we mix with. Unfortunately when dogs (especially stray dogs), have an infectious virus they’re not choosy about who they mingle with. This has led to an outbreak of deadly Parvovirus. We have reported it to the necessary authorities.

How do we know that this is not just a one-off incident? Well, it is a sad story that starts with poor Dolly who passed away in November. She had been living in a run-down makeshift kennel in a pile of old wood and mud. She had many issues and unfortunately didn’t survive her surgery. We knew that her two puppies had Parvo, so they were locked-down in a special area away from the usual quarantine kennels, and it was/is strictly monitored.

One of those puppies, Fiona the dark one, passed away shortly after her mother. The remaining puppy is still alive – barely. He is still on heavy treatment and has not made much improvement. Then more puppies and dogs were bought in, and quarantined for 14 days as per the safety process… but we have discovered that this strain of Parvo is more advanced and resists treatment. The incubation period is more than 14 days, other dogs have been retested and come back positive.

This is almost unheard of. The usual time frame for symptoms to become visible is 3 – 7 days, maybe 10 at most. The symptoms can show as aggressive; such as a fever and vomiting, or less obvious such as lack of appetite and lethargy. Considering all of our dogs are monitored by a team throughout the day we can pick up on anything that’s not right extremely quickly. We were surprised to see that a couple of the other ‘new’ dogs and puppies tested positive, not just related directly to Dolly… which means that in the Hajdúböszörmény district of Hungary where the shelter operates they have got a serious issue.

Due to this outbreak, the infection rate of the virus, and the severity of the symptoms we have officially stopped taking in dogs for the time being. Parvo is seen mostly in puppies but it can be carried by adults. We have to do our bit to protect our dogs and also make other agencies aware so that they must put in safety measures when they are on the streets dealing with animals… as well as making residents knowledgable about how the virus spreads.

How can local residents prevent their dogs being infected?

As usual this is something that can be solved with simple animal husbandry precautions. All they need is a vaccine, however a lot of people in the district may not be able to afford the vaccine, or are ignorant to the severity of Parvovirus. Just in the same way that we have so many dogs with preventable heartworm infections, the education of the local people needs to be improved. In the UK your vet will immediately tell you what vaccinations your puppy needs and why, yet in Hungary dogs are not usually treated as family members, they are objects to be used… so paying extra for a vaccine or worming tablets each month is not something they see as essential.

Pre-Covid restrictions we regularly had parties of school children visit the shelter, as well as open-day fund raisers where we could talk to residents and encourage them to do the right thing. However, in 2020 this has not been possible and we are still fighting a losing battle.