Wichita rescue warns dog owners of sharp increase in parvo cases

WICHITA, Kan. A Wichita rescue group has a warning for dog owners, or anyone looking to get a puppy.

Beauties and Beasts, Inc. reports over the past month, seeing an increase in the number of parvo cases. The virus can be deadly and usually affects puppies.

Beauties and Beasts reports in the past month alone taking in 24 dogs with parvovirus. That's typically the number they see over the course of an entire year.

Out of those 24 cases, six dogs died. The rescue and local veterinarians say in order to bring the number of parvo cases down, people need to properly vaccinate their dogs.

Randi Carter, with Beauties and Beasts,' believes the increase in parvo cases is due to a lack of education.

"They don't realize how to properly vaccinate to prevent it from infecting your puppy or even your 2-year-old dog," she says. "And the other thing would be not know how it's spread. I don't think that people understand how easy it is for your dog or your puppy to get parvo.

Veterinarian, Dr. Michelle Townsley with the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital of Wichita, says if you get a puppy and hear that it's been vaccinated, that doesn't mean its vaccinations are complete.

"Puppies need to have multiple vaccinations," Townsley says.

With parvo, she says symptoms start with decreased appetite, followed by vomiting, diarrhea and extreme nausea. Townsley says it can take up to 12 days for parvo symptoms to show, but as few as two days in the most severe cases.

"Vaccinations may seem extreme to someone who is trying to plan for their puppy, but vaccinations are much more affordable than treating for parvo," she says.

Puppies can catch the virus by playing with another dog that's infected, or even just by sharing the same water bowl. They can also get it from humans who have been in contact with infected eggs.

If you have a puppy, veterinarians advice keeping the dog isolated until it recieves all of the vaccines it needs.

Carter says the rescue has spent anywhere from $800 up to about $5,000 to treat a dog for parvo. In most cases, those treatments can save a dog's life, but she says the rescue has lost at least a dozen dogs to parvo this year.

"Sometimes you get them and they're just so far gone. You try, but their body's just too weak," Carter says.