Cross Posting from another board.....
FORT PIERCE — The Humane Society of St. Lucie County is warning dog owners not to walk their pets in public areas or let them come in contact with other dogs because of an outbreak of the highly contagious and often deadly canine parvovirus.
Frank Andrews, director of the humane society, said his agency has received nine reports of parvo-infected dogs in the last five days.
"That's quite a lot," Andrews said. "And that's just the ones brought to our shelter. Local vets are reporting cases as well."
Dr. John Stein, a veterinarian at Tri-County Animal Hospital in Fort Pierce, said parvovirus cases "often turn up in June and cause a lot of problems," adding that "this year is a little worse than usual."
Of the cases reported to the humane society, Andrews said four were on Roselyn Avenue between U.S. 1 and Oleander Avenue, three were in the area of North 30th Street and Avenue B, one was in the 1700 block of North U.S. 1 and one was in the 2300 block of North 16th Street.
"Parvo is so deadly, and it spreads so unbelievably quickly," said David Robertson, operations manager at the humane society, "we really need to identify exactly where this outbreak is coming from."
The virus is not contagious to humans or cats.
Prevention is the best medicine, Robertson said. Puppies should have a series of three parvovirus vaccinations, and older dogs should get boosters every year.
Infected dogs can be treated, Andrews said, "but by the time the symptoms manifest themselves, it's pretty much over. Vets may be able to save some animals with an aggressive therapy that's very intensive for several days."
Intensive and expensive. "You're looking at $300 to $500 a day for several days, bare minimum," Stein said, "versus a $20 vaccine."
•"Parvo" attacks the digestive system so dogs and puppies can't assimilate nutrients or liquids.
•Symptoms include foul-smelling and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite and high fever.
•The virus spreads by animal contact and through contact with feces. Even indoor and fenced dogs can get the virus by touching contaminated cages, shoes and other objects.
•Puppies younger than 4 months and unvaccinated dogs are at a higher risk of catching the virus. Black-and-tan breeds, such as Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers, appear to have a high risk of catching the disease.
•Many vets recommend a series of vaccinations for puppies and regular vaccinations for adult dogs. Check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is up-to-date.
American Veterinary Medical Association, http://www.avma.org/animal_health/br...o_brochure.asp