Three weeks ago, Meghraj Pednekar, a dog breeder from Trombay, sold a 47-day-old Lhasa Apso to his customer. Soon after moving into the new home, the dog lost his appetite, suffered dysentery and vomiting. A few days later, he succumbed to his illness.
The Lhasa Apso is among many pedigreed canines in the city who have contracted parvoviral gastroenteritis, a viral infection affecting the digestive system. According to veterinary doctors in the city, the spurt of cases is owing to frequent fluctuation in temperature. The Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital in Parel has witnessed 10% to 15 % increase in cases of gastroenteritis this year.
Doctors said most cases this year concerned pedigree dogs aged between 30 to 40 days. “The fluctuating temperature helps in faster multiplication of the virus,” said Vaibhav Pawar, veterinary physician, Paws n Claws, a pet care center in Ghatkopar.
“Variation in temperature increases heat stress and makes dogs more susceptible,” said Colonel (retd) J C Khanna, secretary, Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Experts said such infections are common in the rains. “Winter is usually a healthy time for dogs,” said Dr Parag Pawar, a veterinary physician at a Dadar clinic.
Doctors also said separation of puppies from their mother during infancy makes them susceptible to the illness. “They receive anti-bodies through their mother’s milk,” said Dr Santosh Raut, a veterinary physician at the Bombay veterinary hospital.
“Puppies need to be vaccinated when they are 45 days old after they feed properly on their mother’s milk. If vaccinated before that, anti-bodies from their mother’s make the vaccine ineffective,” said Makarand Chavan, member , Pet Practitioners Association.