TCPalm’s Rob Landers brings you some of today’s top stories on the News in 90 Seconds for June 29.
Treasure Coast Newspapers
PORT ST. LUCIE — In the last week, four dogs tested positive for parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that can be deadly to dogs if gone untreated.
Senior Sgt. Lisa Marie Carrasquillo with the Port St. Lucie Police Department said two of the dogs were brought into the city from another unspecified part of the state.
Cases of parvovirus are not tracked by Animal Services in Martin or Indian River counties.
Kate Meghji, the executive director of the Humane Society of Vero Beach & Indian River County said the agency hasn’t seen an increase of animals in the county with the virus, but the agency has seen a few cases from transfers from other Florida shelters.
Meghji said it’s the time of year where puppies are typically born, which in turn leads to the agency typically seeing a handful of cases during the summer months.
“This is the time of year where people need to really make sure that if they do have puppies they’re getting them vaccinated according to their veterinarian’s recommendations and that you do have your adult dogs up to date as well,” she said. “Adult dogs can also get parvo from puppies.”
The best way to prevent the virus is to have puppies and dogs vaccinated against the virus, Meghji said. Typically puppies are more susceptible to getting parvovirus because their immune systems are not as strong as older dogs. Older dogs also typically get vaccinated for parvovirus yearly.
Sarabi, a 7-month-old Shar Pei mix, nearly died from parvovirus. Thanks to a dog rescue, a volunteer and an animal hospital, she survived.
Signs that a dog might be infected with the virus include if the dog becomes lethargic, loses its appetite, has vomiting or begins to have a fever, according to Meghji.
Typically, puppies are vaccinated for the virus around six weeks of age, said Dr. Cynda Crawford, a veterinarian and clinical assistant professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida said.
“The virus is one of the hardiest viruses known in terms of destructibility once it’s in the environment,” she said. “It will persist in soil and on other surfaces for months to years.”
Crawford said the virus spreads by a healthy puppy or young dog sniffing an infected dog’s fecal matter.
Not all puppies will get the virus, but of the puppies that do, they often get gastrointestinal problems and can get a life-threatening condition called sepsis which can lead to death.
Puppies can also die as a result of extreme dehydration from persistent vomiting and diarrhea.
The best course of action for pet owners that think their dog might be infected with parvovirus is to take them to a veterinarian, who can then take fecal samples to determine if the dog is ill.
Sara Marino is a TCPalm breaking news reporter. You can reach Sara on Twitter @saradmarino or email her at [email protected] If you’re a subscriber, thank you. If not, become a subscriber to get the latest breaking news.
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