Parvo Outbreak Kills 300 Dogs

 |  Aug 3rd 2009  |   5 Contributions

In Pontiac and Inkster, MI. hundreds of dogs have died from an outbreak of parvo.

Dogs are infected by contact with feces from contaminated dogs and often die three days after symptoms appear.

Hundreds of dogs, mainly puppies, are dying in Pontiac and Inkster because of an outbreak of parvovirus, a virulent disease that is easy to prevent and expensive to treat, veterinarians and animal protection workers said Sunday.

"This is the worst outbreak I've seen in Pontiac in the 20 years I've been working here," said Pam Porteous, manager of the Animal Care Network, which operates in Pontiac and Inkster. She said she has been told by shelter workers that Detroit and Flint have outbreaks, too.

Porteous said some 300 dogs have died in Pontiac alone this summer.

Porteous said low-income communities are especially vulnerable because residents often can't afford to vaccinate their puppies -- shots cost $10 to $80 each -- and because they typically keep their pets outside as watchdogs, where the animals can be infected by stray dogs with the disease.

Her organization canvasses Pontiac and Inkster neighborhoods to monitor the disease and educate dog owners about how to prevent it. She said the virus is passed through dog feces and easily can be tracked into the yards and homes on shoes, car tires and paws.

"If I didn't have my dogs vaccinated, I could easily bring it home and give it to them because of the work I do," Porteous said. Parvo is not passed to humans.

Veterinarians said parvo can kill a puppy within 72 hours if it goes untreated.

An infected dog often shows the first symptoms when it stops eating. By the second day, the dog begins vomiting and experiencing diarrhea. By the third day, the diarrhea can become bloody.

It's important to make sure your dog is properly vaccinated. If money is an issue check into some of the low cost clinics in your area. They usually have special days and times set up to offer low cost vaccinations.

*Pic courtesy Michigan Animal Care Network


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