Vets are warning dog owners to vaccinate their pets after an outbreak of a deadly canine virus.
Over the past two weeks veterinary surgeries in Doncaster have had approximately 20 confirmed cases of the highly contagious parvovirus, with at least two pets dying from the illness.
But vets believe there could have been dozens of more cases across the borough that have gone undiagnosed. Balby, Stainforth and Rossington are among the affected areas.
Rachael Parkes’ Jack Russell 16-week-old puppy, Bella, died from the virus at the weekend.
The 29-year-old mum-of-four, of Dr Anderson, Avenue, Stainforth, said: “Within a couple of days of having her second vaccination she started vomiting and pooing blood.
“After talking to friends and checking the symptoms on the internet, we were pretty sure it was parvovirus.
“We took her to Vets for Pets and they said they could put her on a drip, but couldn’t guarantee she would make it. It wasn’t something we could afford to pay, but would have done if we knew she’d make it.”
Miss Parkes unsuccessfully tried to treat Bella by feeding her water and glucose.
She added: “She was like my baby, and the family has been torn apart by her death.”
Lianna Sankey, of Deacon Crescent, Rossington, has lost two dogs - a Japanese Akita, Kain, and a bullmasters, Leila, to parvovirus after six of her friends’ dogs also died from the illness.
The 31-year-old visited three vets before the illness was diagnosed.
“If I’d known from the beginning that’s what Kain had, I would of had him put down and saved him a lot of pain,” she added.
Laura Harrison, of King George’s Road. Rossington, had a similar experience with her bullmasters Storm, with a vet saying treatment would cost £2,000 with no gurantee.
She said: “When I went to Vets for Pets a vet said she could tell she had parvovirus and put her down. People should be made aware of parvovirus because it spreads so quickly.”
Balby Veterinary Centre confirmed it had dealt with 10 cases in the last week.
Head vet Richard Lawn said the majority of cases stemmed from Rossington but other areas would be affected.
He said: “We’ve had approximately ten dogs confirmed but there could be more. “The most important thing for owners is to get their dog immunised.”
Mr Lawn said treatment costs hundreds but immunisation costs £27.50.
Vets for Pets said it has also dealt with around ten cases at its branches in Armthorpe, Edenthorpe and Wheatley.
Claire Martland, practice manager, said: “Dogs under 14 months who have not been vaccinated are most at risk.”
Doncaster Council said it was not planning on introducing measures in its parks and public spaces to limit the spread of parvovirus.