Officials with the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) and the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) are calling for people to have their puppies vaccinated against the parvovirus. Because of the deadly virus, more than thirty dogs and puppies from the community have died in the past few weeks.
“Parvo is a highly contagious and deadly virus,” explained veterinarian Dr. Jane Pohlman with the Wisconsin Humane Society. “The virus is usually passed in stools and can last in the environment for more than a year under the right conditions. Parvo usually affects young pups under 6 months of age, but can also affect unvaccinated older dogs.”
The virus is not spreading at either shelter, nor is there an outbreak within the shelters, but the rise in parvo-positive puppies being brought to the shelters have officials concerned.
“People are taking life-threatening risks when they expose their unvaccinated pets to the environment outside their own home,” said David Flagler, MADACC’s executive director.
Symptoms of the parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), lethargy, pain, dehydration, sepsis, and death. Because parvo is a viral disease, there is no cure. Treatment is aimed at maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, and preventing secondary bacterial infection.
Parvo is preventable. The parvo vaccine is part of routine veterinary vaccinations recommended for all puppies and dogs. The vaccine is generally administered around six weeks and is re-administered three to four additional times before a dog is a year old and annually after that. All dogs who enter MADACC or WHS are vaccinated immediately against parvovirus as a preventative measure.
MADACC and WHS officials are asking all Milwaukee-area dog guardians to make sure their dogs are current on the parvovirus vaccination. If you suspect your dog or puppy has parvovirus, please see a veterinarian immediately.
For more information, visit www.wihumane.org or www.madacc.com