A York dog owner has been hit with a £6,500 vet bill after his cocker spaniel caught potentially lethal parvovirus. 

Now Matthew Winship is warning other dog owners in the city to be on their guard against the serious illness.

Matthew, a health care worker, said his cocker spaniel Cody first became ill on Monday (November 20).

Matthew said he came home from work at 10pm to find Cody had been sick on the floor.

"I'd just changed his diet so I wasn't concerned," said Matthew.

However, Cody's symptoms began to get worse.

Matthew said: "He was sick again at 1am but I still wasn't massively concerned, but 4am rolled around and there was some diarrhoea, that really didn't sit right with me."

York Press: Owner Matthew Winship with dog CodyOwner Matthew Winship with dog Cody (Image: Matthew Winship)

With alarm bells ringing, he rang the vets, who initially  didn't think there was enough evidence to suggest an urgent issue that required a call out, Matthew said.

Eventually, as Cody's condition worsened, Matthew booked an appointment at Green Vets, York, on the morning of Tuesday, November 21.


Cody was diagnosed with parvovirus and gastroenteritis.

As The Press previously reported, parvovirus symptoms include: severe diarrhoea, vomiting, low energy, a very high or very low temperature, pale gums, abdominal pain and reduced appetite.

After an initial discharge for the first night, Cody then returned to spend a week in the care of the vets.

Due to the nature of the illness, the dog had to be fitted with a feeding tube.

York Press: Cody had to be fit with a feeding tubeCody had to be fit with a feeding tube (Image: Matthew Winship)

Matthew praised Green Vets for the care Cody received.

He said: "They were great. They were just amazing every step of the way."

Cody was vaccinated against the disease, something which drastically increased his chances of survival.

Matthew said: "My main piece of advice would be vaccinate your dogs, the vaccination saved his life."

The bill for Cody's lengthy care came in at £6,500, Matthew said.

"Yes it's a big vet bill, but thankfully we've got him insured," he added.


Along with familiarising yourself with the symptoms, Matthew urged dog owners in York to be vigilant amid a potential outbreak.

He said: "Parvo (parvovirus) can live on shoes and clothes as long as nine months

"Use a little bit of bleach when cleaning, it kills parvo, and clean the bottom of your shoes."

To avoid transmission when walking your dog, Matthew said: "Just be vigilant, try and keep them on a short leash and be mindful of other dogs that are around."

The virus is transmitted from dog to dog, typically by faeces which contains high concentrations of "parvo". Attacking cells inside a dogs intestines, it makes dogs extremely dehydrated and prevents them from absorbing vital nutrients.