BOISE, Idaho (CBS2) — The Idaho Humane Society says they have treated eight cases of parvo, last week.
Alix McGrath, a veterinarian at IHS, says usually they see a lot of cases in the Spring and Summer. But this season, parvo is starting off strong. And if left untreated, McGrath says “it can be deadly for sure.”
She says a lot of puppies have been affected. Not only in the shelter, but in public too.
Parvo is a virus that unvaccinated puppies and dogs can get by exposure to infected feces. Causing diarrhea and immune suppression.
"So, the puppies have diarrhea, they vomit, then they become dehydrated and then they often become affected by other infections since their immune system is at risk," McGrath said.
Vets can treat with IV fluids, antibiotics and depending on the case antiemetics which helps with nausea and pain medication.
"Generally, just try to support them through it and hopefully they can overcome the virus. There's nothing we can do to actually treat the virus itself," McGrath said.
But McGrath says it can be prevented by a vaccine. With puppies, vets hope to have them vaccinated every four weeks until 18 to 20 weeks old.
At that point, they consider them protected.
"And that seems like a lot of vaccines but it's really necessary to help combat exposure as well as maternal antibodies that they've gotten from their moms can actually interfere with the vaccines," McGrath said.
McGrath suggests adult dogs should get another vaccine a year after. Then, it could be done every three years.
But the concerning thing about parvo, according to McGrath, is that it persists for years.
"So anywhere that a dog has been that has shed the parvo virus. That virus can survive for up to seven years," McGrath said.
So, McGrath urges the public to get their dogs vaccinated and to avoid places that have a lot of unknown dogs.
"Don't bring your puppies to the dog park, no playing with other puppies or adult dogs until they're fully vaccinated and that means all the way to 20 weeks old," McGrath said.
McGrath says any diarrhea or vomiting in puppies is very concerning and needs to be seen by a vet immediately.