A Darwen woman has urged pet owners to remain vigilant when walking their pets in the area, after her dog contracted a deadly and infectious disease.

Emily Irvine’s cockador, cockerspaniel mixed with labrador, is fighting for her life at the vets after contracting parvovirus, which is fatal for many dogs.

As well as worrying about her dog’s health, Emily has been left with around £4,000 worth of vet bills.

While Emily is not certain about where the one-year-old dog caught the disease, she believes it may have been at Blacksnape Playing Fields where they went for a walk on Sunday (May 28). Blue Cross animal charity says it can take up to seven days for symptoms to show.

Emily said: “As the weather has been nice Bailey has been exercising in my garden and has not needed walks out.

“On Sunday we went to Blacksnape Playing Fields. My other dog Skye is noise sensitive so just sat on grass with me where as Bailey walked around on the extendible lead.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Emily Irvine with her dog, BaileyEmily Irvine with her dog, Bailey (Image: Emily Irvine)

Bailey started to show symptoms last Tuesday (May 30).

She said: “On Tuesday afternoon she seemed tired and wouldn’t eat her food.

“She had no energy to play and wasn’t herself. On Wednesday she still wouldn’t eat and wasn’t drinking either. I was syringing water in her mouth to try hydrate her.

“When Thursday arrived she was even more weak and looked poorly so I called the vet for advice.”

Emily, 40, then travelled with her dog to a vet in Clayton-le-Dale where a test confirmed that Bailey has parvovirus and had to be admitted immediately.

The following days were “touch and go” for Bailey, who was vomiting and had rectal bleeding. She is still being taken care of at the vets.

Lancashire Telegraph: Bailey, a 1-year-old cockadorBailey, a 1-year-old cockador (Image: Emily Irvine)

Emily said: “The vets have been amazing and have ultimately saved her life. If they had insisted I pay before giving Bailey any treatment there is no way she would have survived, as the vet bills will cost thousands.

“I have felt so upset and worried sick. My children, as well as our other dog, are really missing her.

“She is not home yet and the vets want her to stay until she can eat without being tube fed.”

While Bailey is on the mend, Emily has been left with soaring vet bills and is worried about how she will pay them off.

After being quoted £1,800 the bills have now increased to between £3,000 - £4,000. She has set up a fundraiser to help her pay off some of the bills.

She said: “The vet bills are a massive worry. I don’t have pet insurance as with the cost of living crisis it hasn’t currently been possible - insurance fees are not exactly cheap.

“I have children to provide for but wouldn’t ever want to give my dog up

“The vets have saved her life but I’m gobsmacked at the debt I have now been left with.

“I am so worried about being hounded by a debt collection agency to recover the fee.”

According to the Blue Cross parvovirus, also known as canine parvovirus, CPV or parvo, is a very infectious disease that can be fatal. 

The virus attacks cells in a dog’s intestines and stops them from being able to absorb vital nutrients. This means that a dog or puppy will become very weak and dehydrated.

Parvovirus spreads through body fluids, including in a dog’s faeces and vomit. It can also survive in the environment outside the body, for example in the grass at a park, for at least six months, and possibly much longer.

Your dog can even contract parvo by sniffing another dog’s faeces and it’s not uncommon for dogs to catch parvo when out for a walk.

If your dog has come into contact with bedding, food and water bowls, carpet, or a kennel that a dog with parvovirus has touched, they can catch the virus. Parvo can also be spread on shoes, clothing and human hands.

Symptoms of parvovirus include: 

  • foul-smelling diarrhoea with blood in it
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • collapse
  • depression
  • fever
  • sudden death

To make a donation to Emily’s fundraiser visit: https://gofund.me/103bb216