North Texas veterinarians are seeing a spike in the highly contagious parvovirus among dogs.
"It seems like every spring and summer we see an uptick in parvo infections," said Dr. Dickson Bain with Hillside Vet Clinic in Dallas.
Parvovirus can spread quickly from dog to dog and can be deadly.
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According to veterinarians, it is resistant to Texas heat and humidity, can survive in grass, on sidewalks or shoes and clothes for long periods of times. Parvo can cause a dog to be lethargic, lose their appetite and cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
In the month of June, Dr. Bain treated 30 dogs with parvo. Eight of those dogs died, but the virus is preventable.
"The main thing is to get them vaccinated for parvo," said Dr. Bain. "The vaccine is probably 95% effective. We almost never see parvo in a vaccinated dog. If a young dog is vaccinated gets parvo it's usually a very mild case and has a much higher percentage of surviving."
Puppies under four months and unvaccinated dogs are the most at risk, according to veterinarians.
Until a puppy receives its first series of vaccinations, they should not be taken to the dog park or store – or places where they could easily come in contact with the virus, said Dr. Bain.
"Vaccines cost a few dollars to give and save you thousands of dollars and even the life of your pet," said Dr. Bain.
For new dog owner Collen Sanders, the health and happiness of her puppy is a priority.
"She's like my child, you know," said Collen, trying to corral her dog. "She's pretty much my first child."
Her dog is now free to frolic the dog park after being vaccinated for parvo.