Veterinarians, rescuers warning pet owners about new strain of potentially deadly parvovirus

Animal rescue says it is already feeling the effects, with two puppies lost to the virus in recent weeks.
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Staunton City Sheriff's Office new K-9 Deputy.(WVIR)
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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AMELIA, Ohio (FOX19) - Veterinarians are pleading with pet owners to take preventative measures because they are seeing an uptick in parvo cases due to a new strain of the virus.

Parvovirus, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, is described as a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness that most often affects puppies.

“Symptoms that folks will notice when a pet’s coming down with parvo is inappetence, or decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea,” Dr. Charlie Faircloth, the Medical Director at All Creatures Animal Hospital in Amelia, said.

On average, Faircloth says 80 percent of dogs can survive parvo with treatment, but the newest strain of the virus, The so-called Parvo-B is spreading rapidly and causing an uptick in cases.

Faircloth said because the strain is more severe, it can decrease the prognosis.

William Coplen with All Dogs Come From Heaven rescue said his team has felt the devastating effects. They lost two puppies to parvo in recent weeks.

“It has been more cases, more dangerous cases, and we don’t see it slowing down yet,” Coplen said. “We got into rescue to save animals. Unfortunately, by the definition of doing that, we’re also going to expose ourselves emotionally to losing them.”

Although Faircloth says parvo is hard to eliminate since it can stay on surfaces for six months to a year, he says it is preventable with a vaccine. Three to four doses of it is enough to protect puppies against even the new strain.

“Parvo is spreading, and it’s spreading with a very, very bad strain, and what people need to do is please vaccinate your animals because if they get this, they’re not going to make it,” Coplen said.

For pet owners who are worried about the cost of the parvo vaccine, Faircloth says it is much cheaper to pay for the vaccinations because if your pet does get parvo, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in medical bills.

To learn more about the symptoms, treatment or parvo vaccine, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s parvo page.

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