Veterinarians at a Fort Worth clinic said they have seen an increase in parvo cases as dog owners choose to not pay for vaccines.
Family Pet Care has treated 28 dogs this fall for parvo, more than twice as many as the same time last year. The number does not include cases in which the owners opted not to treat the parvo and had the animals euthanized.
Canine parvovirus type 2, or parvo, is a highly contagious virus that attacks the lining of the intestines.
Dr. Russell Johnson said owners of dogs such as Ezra didn't want to pay for parvo shots, which cost about $10 each.
By the time the dog was brought in with parvo at Family Pet Care about two months ago, it was almost too late.
"He was just about dead when he came in," Johnson said.
Johnson said Ezra was very dehydrated, vomiting and had bloody diarrhea. The dog wouldn't eat or drink and couldn't lift his head off the table, Johnson said.
Ezra's owners opted to have him put down rather than pay up to $1,500 dollars for treatment. But the staff at Family Pet Care didn't have the heart to put him down, and now Ezra is healthy and ready for adoption.
"He would've died if he hadn't been treated," Johnson said. "He was just lucky enough to come see us."
Today, Ezra is like any other healthy 5-month-old pit bull puppy. He makes funny faces when he hears funny noises such as cell phone ring tones.
Dog owner Christina Lewis said she knows the pain and expense of treating parvo after she adopted an infected puppy.
"Prevention is so much better than the cure, absolutely," she said.
Treating a dog with severe parvo can require several days in a veterinary hospital and can cost thousands of dollars.