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Shelters see uptick in parvovirus in dogs, puppies

July 3, 2012

More than 30 dogs and puppies have died in the past few weeks from a highly contagious and deadly virus, prompting the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission and the Wisconsin Humane Society to urge pet owners to get young pups vaccinated for parvovirus.

The virus is passed in stool and can last in the environment for more than a year under the right conditions, said veterinarian Jane Pohlman with the Wisconsin Humane Society.

Parvo usually affects pups younger than 6 months, but it can also affect unvaccinated older dogs, she added.

There is no outbreak in either area shelter but there has been a rise in the number of parvo-positive puppies being brought to the shelters.

Symptoms of the parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), lethargy, pain, dehydration and sepsis, and the outcome can be death. Because parvo is a viral disease, there is no cure.

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