Border collie Willow rushed to vet over fears she had suspected virus

The owners of a puppy are warning others to be on the lookout for signs of infections and diseases that can be a danger to young dogs.

David and Angela Hollyoake-Smith were dismayed to discover Border collie Willow was seriously ill within a few days of bringing her home. They feared she had developed potentially fatal parvovirus, which is a transmittable virus that is extremely dangerous to dogs of all ages.

But it is particularly common in puppies who haven’t yet been vaccinated against it.

Image of dog feared to be infected with parvovirus for Vets Now article on puppy parvovirus
Willow's owner David is urging other pet owners to be vigilant about parvovirus

Thankfully Willow’s illness turned out to be not so serious and she quickly bounced back to health – but David hopes other dog owners will follow his lead and be vigilant when first bringing a puppy home.

“It is a happy time, but also a time to be on alert for infections and other illnesses that puppies can be prone to,” he said. “We’d bought Willow home on the Thursday from a local farm and she was a typical puppy – very lively and eating everything you put in front of her.

“But then on Sunday morning, she was a little bit subdued and not interested in her breakfast, which was a first. It made me think something wasn’t quite right. Her stools were very loose and we kept an eye on her through the day but by 4pm she was just lying in Angela’s arms and wasn’t interested in anything.

“Willow’s eyes were quite dull and when I put my hand on her tummy and it was really really hot and my first reaction at the time was parvovirus.”

David, who lives in Belper near Derby, contacted Vets Now and was advised to bring the puppy into our Alfreton clinic straight away. After giving Willow a thorough examination, the vet said it was unlikely she had parvovirus.

But she was concerned Willow’s temperature and hydration levels so put her on fluids and gave her antibiotics.David was delighted Willow was back to her normal self when he collected her the following morning.

Image of puppy who was rushed to the vets with suspected parvovirus
Willow was treated by emergency vets at Vets Now in Alfreton

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He said: “The vet thought it had been some sort of infection and being a farm dog there’s a lot you can pick up in that sort of environment. The farmer was really nice and you could tell by the way he talked and handled the litter he really cared for them. I think it was just one of those things.”

And he added: “From the moment I got through to the Vets Now contact centre to the moment I brought her home, the care Willow was shown was nothing short of exceptional. The whole team at Alfreton were truly fantastic.”

Jacqui Seymour, senior vet at Vets Now in Alfreton, said: “It’s lovely to hear Willow is back to full health. She’s such a beautiful puppy. Thankfully, this was a problem that quickly sorted itself out, but it’s a useful reminder to anyone getting a puppy that it’s important to be on alert to any potential health problems.

“There are a number of infectious conditions that puppies are particularly at risk from, including parvovirus and kennel cough. Some are life-threatening such a parvovirus. It’s well worth dog owners reading up on those so they are aware of the signs.”

The Vets Now clinic in Alfreton – where Willow received treatment – is one of 58 Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s premises have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.