A heartbroken dog owner has joined forces with concerned residents and local experts to raise awareness of canine parvovirus in Burnley and Pendle.
Lynn Hurst, of Salisbury Street, Colne, is the latest person in the area to witness the horrendous symptoms of the highly contagious viral disease.
Her dog Roxy contracted the virus last month, and was immediately taken to Stanley House Veterinary Surgery.
But due to the fact the symptoms were caught early and that she had had her vaccinations, she was able to be saved. Now Lynn wants to stress the importance of getting your dog vaccinated, keeping up with the boosters, and picking up after your pet - as it is believed Roxy will have caught the disease through dog faeces.
The 55-year-old said: “It is very unusual for an adult vaccinated dog to contract this.
“Roxy was off her food on the Thursday, she had diarrhoea on the Friday and by Saturday she was vomiting constantly. Within a few hours of contacting the vets she could hardly stand up, was lethargic and led on the floor defeated and almost motionless. This was heartbreaking to watch and so distressing and painful for our beautiful Roxy.
“Although the vaccine didn’t stop Roxy from catching the parvo the vet has told me without her having this we would have lost her.
“I can’t emphasise enough if this can happen to a big, healthy, strong, loving girl like our Roxy it could happen to any of your much loved animals.”
Stanley House assistant veterinary surgery Rick Appleton, who said the virus is more common in younger and older dogs, added: “There is not an outbreak of parvovirus as such, but it is an ongoing problem, and one that we are keen to avoid.
“Vaccinating your dog does massively reduce the risk of getting the virus - unfortunately, it is not going to be 100%, but this case is out of the ordinary.
“We do see the cases and it is very distressing for people when they do see their pet put to sleep.”
And Paula Knowles, from Pendle Dogs In Need, said: “It is so sad that this is such a respectable dog owner that this has happened to.
“This area does seem to be high-risk at the moment, and there seems to have been an increase in dog fouling.”
For Trawden resident Amanda Cunningham tougher punishments, such as community service, are needed to clamp down on the issue of dog fouling once and for all. She also stressed that although humans cannot get the disease, this does not mean it can not be spread to a dog.
The 45-year-old said: “Lots of people are still not cleaning up after their dog.
“If you are you not picking it up, you are still putting your own dog at risk. We don’t want an epidemic.”
Responding David Alexander, senior environmental crime officer, said: “It’s true that the parvovirus can be passed on through dog faeces. We, like many local residents, are concerned about dog fouling in our residential areas and parks where dog walkers take their pets for exercise. We do patrol the borough as regularly as we can, and follow up reports about areas with high levels of dog fouling.
“We take every opportunity to remind irresponsible dog owners of the penalties for not picking up after their pet.
“As for the laws around dog fouling, Pendle Council can only enforce them and has no part in setting them.”
If you are concerned your pet has parvovirus contact your vet straight away. Your vet can also advise on suitable disinfectants you can use to clean down areas in your home while your dog recovers.