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Carnforth mum warns of deadly dog virus after prompt action saves her pet Rubie's life

Carol Sedgwick and two-year-old Rubie

A Carnforth woman has warned dog owners of the dangers of a deadly virus after prompt action saved her pet's life.

Carol Sedgwick's two-year-old Havanese, Rubie, was critically ill with parvovirus which can cause death in dogs.

Parvovirus, which is largely assumed to be prevented by annual inoculations, damages the lining of the intestines, causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea and attacks infection-fighting cells inside the bone marrow, which weakens the immune system making it very difficult for dogs to recover.

Rubie is an important member of the family to Carol and her two young sons, so they were all alarmed when her typical energetic demeanour was suddenly replaced by whining and shivering.

When diarrhoea, containing blood, followed, Carol rushed her to Bay Vets as an emergency appointment.

Diagnosing canine parvovirus, a highly contagious acute gastrointestinal illness, they began urgent treatment, warning Carol the next 24 hours were critical.

After two days on intravenous medication, antibiotics, pain relief, replacement fluids and 24-hour observation, Rubie (below) was out of danger and on the slow road to recovery.

Delighted to get her loving dog back, Carol is putting the message out to all dog owners she knows, meets, and treats at her Carnforth Chiropodist practice.

“It was a terrible few days," she said.

"Parvovirus has a fatality rate of 91 per cent, even higher in younger, older and health compromised dogs. This is why I’m doing everything to alert fellow dog owners to please, please keep up to date with your dog’s vaccinations.

"If Rubie hadn’t been vaccinated, she would definitely have died. It’s largely spread by faeces, so I’m sure I don’t have to say this, but it’s another reason to always pick up after our dogs.

“Rubie, my sons and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Justina and the team at Bay Vets for their amazing care. Like most pet owners, I assumed our annual boosters covered this terrible disease, however I’ve learned no vaccination is 100 per cent effective. Bay Vets confirm quick action can make the difference between life or death, so contact yours immediately if you spot similar symptoms.”

Faced with a bill for over £800 for Rubie’s intensive treatment and medication, Bay Vets contacted the maker of Rubie’s vaccine (Zoetis), who contributed towards the costs as a sign of goodwill.

“The vets say small dogs, like Rubie, are even less likely to survive a parvovirus attack,” said Carol.

“She may only weigh 5kg, but having her back is worth 10 times her weight in gold!”

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