What dog owners should know about parvovirus as summer approaches

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 7:49 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Nearly everyone who buys a puppy knows to bring it to the vet for shots. But what might not be immediately obvious is just how important those shots are.

Anyone buying or adopting a puppy or young dog needs to be acutely aware of canine viruses like parvo or distemper.

Symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

The viruses are deadly and can be spread quickly. Veterinarians like Dr. Mark Miller believe that the best course of action is to limit the dog’s exposure to public places or unknown dogs for a couple of months.

“The most important thing is that as soon as you get your puppy, bring it to the vet,” Miller said. “There’s going to be a series of boosters they go through over the next 10-12 weeks to protect them. So, once they’re protected, once you get them fully vaccinated, the odds of them picking up distemper or parvo are very, very low.”

Despite precautions, puppies will sometimes get either parvo or distemper.

Heidi Gonia and Darren Hilton recently had a dog that died from parvo. They recently adopted a new puppy and are taking a cautious approach.

“Well, we don’t take him outside, not until he gets fully vaccinated,” Hilton said. “Because just going through that again. It’s too hard.”

“And no interactions until he is fully vaccinated, completely,” Gonia added.

But the viruses are not necessarily a death sentence. Miller says that if you get your puppy to the vet as soon as it starts showing symptoms, it has a high likelihood of survival.

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