Dog owners beware: Parvo attacks again

By Allison Bybee

Dog owners beware: A deadly virus is back this summer, and it's infecting more dogs than normal. A virus that attacks puppies and older dogs.

Rocky's been sick for days. Doctor's believe he is another victim of the Parvoviral Infection. Dr. Dana Juillerat of Tri-County Animal Hospital says, "They die from dehydration, blood loss, and what we have to do is keep them from infection."

Dr. Juillerat is nervous. Just last week he treated five dogs for extreme vomiting, diarrhea and pure exhaustion, "Once they are in that condition, it's really difficult to save them. So, you're at about a 50/50 chance if you wait too long to seek help."

Parvo is highly contagious and can be deadly to dogs. It's spread through bowel movements and the next dog that walks over that area picks it up. Hospital Director Melissa Rock says, "Very easy, very easy. It stays in the ground for a long time, basically can't kill it. It just lays dormant; a healthy dog can carry it."

Rocky isn't the only victim. In just one week, The St. Lucie County Humane Society received nine stray dogs all with Parvo symptoms. Operations Manager David Robertson says, "It came up quick and many of them came up in a short period of time, and it really sent up some red flags for us that there were nine possibly 10 cases."

They fear a mass outbreak at their clinic; so, many of their dogs are in quarantine.

The treatment for Parvo is expensive: $200 to $500 dollars per day, but a $20 annual vaccination will prevent it.

Doctors urge dog owners with unvaccinated dogs to keep them away from other dogs at parks and keep your pet on the concrete.