My puppy caught highly dangerous virus at dog shelter – it was touch and go

A WOMAN whose little pup caught a highly dangerous virus at a dog shelter she it was "touch and go" on whether she would survive.

Nilly-Mae Sims said her Cavachon puppy Wilma caught the highly contagious Parvovirus at the Woodside Animal Centre in Leicester earlier this month.

Wilma was one of a number of dogs at the shelter that caught the virus, which attacks the intestines, and was in intensive care for several days.

Nilly-Mae said she became "sick with worry" that Wilma wouldn't make it.

She told LeicestershireLive: "It became my main focus. I couldn’t concentrate on my work and Wilma was all I could think about.

"Some days she was good and getting better and then she deteriorated badly the next. It was a real rollercoaster."

The pet owner did not even know what the Parvovirus was until Wilma became unwell just a few days after she had brought her home.

The little Cavachon did not eat or drink for about 12 hours and showed signs of exhaustion and did not want to play, which Nilly-Mae put down to nerves.

She said: "We thought she could be a little upset as she was a new dog in new surroundings just getting a little overwhelmed with everything."

That all changed when Nilly-Mae saw a post on Facebook.

She said: "I’m on a group with other Cavachon pup mums and I saw one mention her puppy had come down with Parvovirus.

"Her puppy had the same symptoms as Wilma and then I began to worry. Without that post, I don’t know what would have happened."

Symptoms of Parvovirus can differ greatly from dog to dog and not every K9 is promised to catch it.

Nilly-Mae's other dog, a golden doodle called Winnie, was left relatively unscathed despite a brief day of illness.

But for Wilma, the virus devastated her body and was put under round-the-clock intensive care.

Nilly-Mae said: "I’ve seen things no dog lover should ever see. Wilma was hooked up to so many tubes and equipment that it was awful to see her like that."

She was told on several occasions by vets to fear for the worst.

"Until you’re in that situation it’s hard to explain, but to get good news about her health in the morning followed by a warning she’s going to go just hours later really hit us," she said.

"These calls would come at 1am and I didn’t know what to think. It was such a rollercoaster of emotions."

Thankfully, after 10 days of treatment, Wilma recovered and was finally returned home where she remains on medication.

The 29-year-old dog owner has vowed to raise awareness about the Parvovirus and give back to Woodside Animal Centre, where Wilma came from.

She said: "This was just an awful thing that no-one at Woodside could stop. They have been brilliant throughout this, calling and checking in on me and Wilma every day.

"They’ve gone above and beyond in helping."

The team at Woodside not only paid for Wilma's vet bills – they also covered other families whose pet was affected – something Nilly-Mae called a "lifeline".

She said: "It’s not just Wilma they’ve saved, it’s me as well. With the bills rising, we might not have had a home to bring her back to, that’s how serious it was.

"I cannot thank them enough."

Nilly-Mae is raising money for the shelter to help them continue to deliver their services to rescued animals.

She said: "This isn’t just money for now, this is money for the future so that anyone and any animal gets the support and help they need. After the help they’ve shown, it’s the very least I can do."

Woodside Animal Centre has been contacted for comment.

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