Disease of Alimentary System
Serious cases of food poisoning sometimes result from a toxin produced by a micro organism known as Clostridium botulinum. This potent toxin is usually fatal in humans, while dogs and cats are considerably more resistant. The organism and the toxin, found in decaying carcases, are easily destroyed by heat; cooking and food processing protect humans and pet animals. However, the cases which do occur are usually a result of eating unprocessed knacker meat and carrion. The result is pronounced stiffness, vomiting with collapse, paralysis and other nervous signs. Recovery is possible with urgent attention.
In 1978 a new communicable disease swept the world. The virus disease is related to Feline Infectious Enteritis and is believed to have derived from it by mutation. Highly infectious and effecting dogs of all ages, it had a particularly severe e&ct on puppies at weaning time. The organs mainly affected were the heart and the bowel; heart changes resulted in many sudden deaths, often in healthy looking puppies, at the time their new owners took possession. More frequently, profound changes in the gut lead to vomiting and diarrhoea with a good deal of blood, the lining of the gut being totally destroyed in the worst cases. Dogs collapsed and died within a short time after the onset of symptoms. Some cases recovered after intensive care and fluid therapy.
In the early stages of Canine Parvovirus it was discovered that killed vaccine for the related feline disease gave some protection for dogs. Canine-derived vaccines are now available and give more reliable protection, although many individuals take longer to build up immunity than others. Vaccination against Canine Parvovirus disease must be included in the program to protect young puppies, followed by annual booster injections to maintain immunity.