A dog lover who lost four of her five pedigree bichon frise puppies to the deadly parvovirus says she is struggling to cope with her grief.
Susan Edwards, 67, of School Lane, Herne, was left devastated after the lethal disease almost wiped out the entire litter.
Only one of this five-strong litter survived
She said: "It’s been like losing a child.
“I cried for four days and I still cry every morning. I miss them so much. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”
Four of her 10-week-old puppies were put down over two days, on August 27 and 28, and the puppies’ father, Drum, succumbed a week later on September 2.
Mother Lemon appears to have shaken the virus off and one of the puppies, sold to a lady in Essex, also survived.
Mrs Edwards said: "It is absolutely devastating.
“They were vomiting all the time, they had diarrhoea, they lost blood - they were just ever so poorly.”
Susan Edwards with the puppies' mum Lemon
Now Mrs Edwards is hoping to take a step towards coming to terms with her loss by urging other dog owners to get their pets inoculated.
She was left shocked by online reports last week claiming there had been no reported parvovirus cases locally.
Mrs Edwards, a mother-of-four and grandmother-of-10, said: "I was so hurt when I read that.
“We need to get across to people that they must check with their vets and get their dogs treated.”
Vet Sarah Platt, who owns the Broadway Veterinary Group, moved to allay fears of an outbreak.
She said: "Mrs Edwards had a really nasty, tragic incident but it was one household and it was isolated.
Two of the puppies killed by deadly virus
"I can say with hand on heart that I have not seen any other recent cases in the area.”
But Mrs Platt did call on puppy owners to ensure their pets had been vaccinated and that any older dogs had had had their annual booster.
“Puppies should not be taken out before they’ve been vaccinated,” she added.
Mrs Edwards and her husband Cliff suspect foxes may be responsible for transmitting the virus but vet Mrs Platt is not convinced.
“It’s more likely to be carried by people,” she said. “They can walk it around unknowingly on their shoes.”