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Parvo virus on the rise; dog owners urged to vaccinate

Updated: Friday, August 16 2013, 10:03 PM CDT

Reported by: Ewa Roman

Having a puppy has its privileges, the unconditional love
for one thing.

But it also has responsibilities. One of them is
vaccinating your puppy and making sure those vaccinations are up-to-date,
especially now more than ever, because the parvovirus is making a comeback in
Lancaster County.

The outbreak is connected to three locations: Perry
Street in Columbia, a litter of puppies on Beaver Street in Lancaster and
another from Atlantic Avenue. Some of those dogs had to be euthanized.

The parvovirus doesn't effect humans, but for puppies, it
can be deadly.

"You have these huge outbreaks of diseases that are
these huge outbreaks and every body freaks out. Then they develop a vaccine and
it goes away and then people forget about it and they don't vaccinate, "
said Dr. Robert Sarsfield, Animal Hospital of Dauphin County.


At the Animal Hospital of Dauphin County, Veterinarian
Dr. Robert Sarsfield says they see about three to four cases a year, but that
is down from hundreds in the early 1980s, when the virus was first seen in


" It is almost identical to the cats distemper virus
and what the experts think happened is that the cat distemper virus mutated and
became able to infect dogs," said Dr. Sarsfield.


Aside from vaccinating your pooch, keep your pets food
bowls clean. Also, the virus can live in feces and the surrounding soil for up
to a year and can survive in extreme heat and cold.


" The most effective thing aside from vaccination is
controlling the environment your dog is in. Having a fence, where dogs can't
get in and go to the bathroom. Probably avoiding dog parks," said


Dr. Sarsfield says if your dog has the virus, they'll
appear tired and stop eating.

Parvovirus destroys the cells that line a dog' s
intestinal tract. It progresses quickly and leads to bloody diarrhea and bloody


Dr. Sarsfield says parvovirus is treatable with
antibiotics. 90-95% of the time dogs get better, but require a hospital stay.

Parvo virus on the rise; dog owners urged to vaccinate

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