2:53 PM EDT, October 3, 2012
It's a warning many new pet owners don't heed, and it can have dangerous consequences. Jocelyn Lockwood tells us how a simple vaccination for your dog can prevent deadly virus.
Puppies are playful, loveable, and a handful! But there may be something your new pup is hiding.
"Parvo is a virus that is in dogs only," explains Dr. Erica Canon from Southeast Veterinary Specialists. "Any dog that is unvaccinated is susceptible, so we traditionally see it more often in our puppies or dogs coming out of the shelter."
It's something most dog owners have heard of, but don't they always take the dangers to heart.
"It's a virus that pretty much destroys the intestinal lining and it also causes their white blood cells to drop so not only can they not absorb any nutrients through their gastrointestinal tract, and they get the vomiting and diarrhea that goes along with that, but they have no ability to fight off the infection," according to Dr. Canon.
Parvo can be deadly, and it's really easy for puppies to pick up: "Extremely contagious and it persists in the environment for at least a year we know, so a household that's had a dog with parvo even if the dog passed or got over it, they cannot bring any new puppies, unvaccinated puppies, in their house for at least a year because it stays in the environment that long."
Dr. Canon says the spring and fall are the times of year they see more cases, and there's a simple way to prevent it: "Vaccination. Unless you have two vaccines I would not take my puppy to PetSmart, to the dog park, anywhere. I would isolate them until they got at least those two and then after that you can start moving them around."
The hard part is just getting new pet owners to heed the warning.