1. ITV Report

What is Canine Parvovirus?

Dog owners are being warned about a potentially lethal virus that has seen an animal refuge centre in Cumbria having to quarantine it's kennels.

Wetheral Animals Refuge, near Carlisle, has vaccinated all the animals to stop the virus from spreading, but says dog owners are the key to containing the disease.

Canine parvovirus is most common in puppies but can also affect adult dogs.

According to the RSPCA, 80% of unvaccinated pets that get parvovirus will die but 85% of vaccinated ones will survive.

But what exactly is Canine Parvovirus? We've compiled this hand fact file so you know what to look our for.

What are the symptoms of Canine Parvovirus?

Parvovirus is an infection which can affect many mammals but dogs have their own strain of the disease, Canine Parvovirus.

It can manifest itself in two different ways.

Intestinal form of Parvovirus -

Intestinal issues are the most common symptoms of the virus.

Dogs with these symptoms experience vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss, a lack of energy and lack of appetite.

The intestinal form the virus affects the body's ability to absorb nutrients, and means the dog will quickly become dehydrated and weak.

Cardiac form of Parvovirus -

The second set of symptoms, which are also the most rare, affect the dog's heart.

It attacks the muscles of the heart so it's not longer able to work properly. This often means the dog will die as a result of the illness.

These symptoms are usually seen in young puppies.

The main way the virus spreads is through direct contact with an infected dog Credit: PA

How does a dog catch Canine Parvovirus?

The main way the virus spreads from dog to dog is through direct contact with an infected animal.

It can also, however, be picked up by indirect contact. Faeces from infected dog's contains high quantities of the virus so if a dog sniffs it, it will contract the disease.

The virus can also be brought into a dog's environment by way of shoes that have come into contact with infected faeces.

For unknown reasons, certain dog breeds, such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls,Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, and Alaskan sled dogs, are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Getting your dog vaccinated is the best way to stop it from catching the disease Credit: PA

How to prevent Canine Parvovirus.

The best way to stop your dog from getting the disease is to have it vaccinated as a puppy. The injections cost between £30 and £40.

There is evidence that the virus can live in ground soil for up to a year and it is resistant to most cleaning products, or even to weather changes.

If you think you've come into contact with whilst walking and want to prevent it spreading in your home you will need to wash your shoes with bleach. It's the only disinfectant known to kill the virus.

For more information about vaccinating your pet you can visit the RSPCA website.