Recent flooding spreads deadly illness to pets

KDBC
Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 12:11am

Recent flooding in the Borderland could put pets at risk of contracting a deadly virus.

Health experts say flood waters spread a disease called "Parvovirus" to dogs. And while humans can't get it, veterinarians say they do usually see a spike in the virus in dogs during the monsoon season.

Fortunately, it is preventable with a vaccine that can save the dog's life, and save pet owners money in the long run.

Puppies are most vulnerable to Parvovirus, but dogs of any age can contract it too.

According to experts, the disease travels through a dog's stool, and when that feces spreads, the trouble begins.

Flies are also guilty carriers of the infection.

"Dogs like to run through the water, in the process of running through the water, they're getting the virus that's dispersed throughout the water," said Dr. Derek Turner from the El Paso Emergency Animal Center.

Once a dog is infected, experts say the symptoms are hard to miss.

"Most of the time when they come in, they're usually puppies, only weeks old, months old, and they'll come in with the symptoms of bloody diarrhea or vomiting," said Daniel Mendoza, a vet technician from the El Paso Emergency Animal Center.

"Puppies are normally very playful and active, but when they become lethargic and depressed and laying around, that's normally the first symptom that we see," said Dr. Turner.

Veterinarians urge pet owners to keep dogs away from other dogs until they've been vaccinated.

Also, to seek medical attention immediately if the pet suffers from any of the Parvovirus symptoms before it is too late.

"Most of the time when they come in, they are pretty nervous about it being Parvo because if not treated well or caught early, it can be fatal," said Mendoza.

The El Paso Emergency Animal Center says there is about an 80% survival rate for dogs if they are hospitalized and treated appropriately.

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