Archive for Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Outbreaks of parvo common in spring

May 3, 2000

Springtime may be a haven for the birds and the bees. But for puppies, the season often holds the threat of a deadly disease.

Vickie Smith, veterinarian, said parvo has been around for a long time.

"We usually see outbreaks of it in the spring," Smith said. "It's simply a case of people not vaccinating or they don't vaccinate correctly."

The symptoms of parvo include profuse bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

"They can't keep anything down and they dehydrate very quickly," Smith said.

The painful disease has a high mortality rate in young puppies, Smith said.

"It's not one of those things where you can wait a couple of days and they'll get better," Smith said, "because they'll be dead."

Treatment can include intensive intravenous therapy, and even with that, the prognosis can be grim, especially for very young puppies.

"We also see it in five to seven-month-old pups that have been apparently healthy until then," Smith said.

As the animals age, they seem to gain a resistance to the disease, but still, Smith said, even mature dogs should be vaccinated for parvo.

For puppies, the series of parvo vaccination should start at about eight weeks and the dogs receive another vaccination every two to four weeks until they reach the age of 20 weeks.

"A lot of people think they can go over to VetVax and get one parvo shot and that's what it takes," Smith said. "But that doesn't work."

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