Pennsylvania Dog Owners Now Urged To Vaccinate Their Pets Against Deadly Parvovirus

If you have a dog, the thing you want more than anything else is to care for them and keep them safe. There are many ways we can do it, from making sure they have a warm and comfortable place to sleep to feeding them healthy foods. There is also something else we can do, make sure they are up to date on their shots.

This has always been important, but the Beaver County Humane Society is now warning pet owners that they should have their dogs vaccinated. The call to action is coming on the heels of a second stray puppy that has recently tested positive for the deadly parvovirus.

“Parvo is a highly contagious and deadly virus,” said Susan Salyards, BCHS executive director, in a news release according to The Times. “The virus is most commonly seen in young puppies, but can affect an unvaccinated dog of any age and can last in the environment for more than a year under the right conditions. Parvo is spread from direct dog-to-dog contact, contaminated feces, or contaminated environments.”

The Parvovirus attacks the digestive system lining. As a result, the dog is unable to absorb nutrients from the food it eats. Some of the symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), lethargy, pain, dehydration, sepsis, and death. Treatment typically is to prevent a secondary bacterial infection and maintaining a balance of fluids and electrolytes.

On Saturday, Beaver Falls Police dropped off a stray female puppy at the shelter. When the staff saw she had symptoms similar to those associated with the virus, they had her tested. After it was confirmed, the puppy was taken to an animal hospital for further treatment.

The puppy was discharged on Monday. Although she is still sick and remains in isolation, they are moving forward with looking for a foster home. BCHS does not think that it will affect their ability to take in animals. According to Salyards, the proper sterilization and deep-cleaning protocols were started right away

“People are taking life-threatening risks when they expose their unvaccinated pets to the outdoors, especially in areas that other dogs have been,” she said. “It is so important to have your dog or puppy vaccinated against parvo – it’s a preventable illness, and the vaccines are widely available.”

Salyards said the staff saw the situation quickly, leading to the puppy being saved and further contamination being halted.

“We think we caught it early, but this is a costly venture for our shelter,” said Salyards. “The emergency vet bills are estimated to cost BCHS close to $1,500.”

Most puppies and dogs receiving routine care through a vet get the vaccine. Typically, they are given it at 6 weeks and are given an additional 3 or 4 shots until they are a year old. Annual boosters are also given. When a dog comes into BCHS, they are given the vaccination right away as a preventative measure.

BCHS is asking all dog owners to check on the parvovirus vaccination. If you feel that your dog is infected, don’t hesitate to see a veterinarian.

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