MOUNT VERNON — Veterinarian Amanda Rogers has reported a spike in parvovirus, and is reminding her clients to vaccinate man’s best friend.
Rogers, with Complete Care Animal Hospital, has seen seven cases at her office in the last month.
Veterinarian Jessica Krueger said that the Mount Vernon Animal Hospital had seen three cases in the past two months, but that that amount is pretty typical for this time of year.
David Dubusky of Hillside Veterinary Clinic agreed. He said his clinic hasn’t seen any cases in the last month, nor have the clinics in Fredericktown and Utica.
“I wouldn’t consider this a county wide outbreak,” he said.
Nevertheless, it’s important to keep parvo vaccinations up-to-date. Vets recommend a series of vaccinations for puppies younger than 18 weeks and a booster every one to three years for adult dogs. Puppies and certain breeds like German shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans and pit bulls are most vulnerable, but any dog can contract the virus. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, blood in the stool and diarrhea.
Dubusky said that while most cases are treatable, dogs can die from the complications of parvovirus. The infection attacks bone marrow and the intestinal lining, leaving dogs vulnerable to serious infections and dehydration.
Parvovirus is transmitted by particles in an infected dog’s stool. These particles can sink into the ground and contaminate a spot for years, but they can also survive on clothing, human skin and household surfaces.
“The biggest push-back (to vaccination) we get is from people who say, ‘my dog doesn’t need it, he doesn’t go anywhere,’” said Rogers. “But people go places and that’s how we bring this home.”
Parvo particles are resistant to heat, freezing temperatures and most household cleaners and disinfectants, although bleach does kill the virus.
Parvo is treatable if caught in time, but usually requires a dog be quarantined in a hospital, sometimes for up to a week. The usual treatment includes an IV drip and antibiotics.
“It is far more expensive to treat parvovirus than to prevent it,” said Rogers. “The best way to protect your dog is to get it vaccinated.”
Vaccinations are available for less that $30 at most area clinics, excluding the cost of an examination.