Deadly and highly contagious dog virus spreading in central Indiana

Parvo Puppies.JPG
Posted at 7:22 AM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 07:22:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A deadly, but preventable, dog virus is spreading across central Indiana and local shelters are warning pet owners to make sure their furry family members are vaccinated.

Indianapolis Animal Care Services posted a message Thursday evening urging all dog owners to make sure their pets are vaccinated against the parvovirus.

"Canine parvovirus, or parvo, is a highly contagious, life-threatening disease and it’s only going to continue to spread throughout our community unless pet owners heed the warnings and get their dogs vaccinated against it," IACS posted to their Facebook page.

In the past week, IACS says they have seen dozens of dogs show up at their intake doors with the potentially deadly virus, which is highly contagious, especially among young, unvaccinated dogs.

The virus affects a dog's gastrointestinal tracts, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, and is spread by dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated surfaces, environments and people.

"The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time," The AVMA said.

The puppies pictured below are just two victims of the virus and they were surrendered by their owner after they tested positive for parvo, according to IACS.

Parvo Puppies.JPG

A third puppy also tested positive, but did not survive long enough to make it to the shelter.

"Even more sad, and quite frankly, just plain frustrating, is the fact that this could have been prevented with a SIMPLE vaccine," IACS posted.

There is no cure for parvovirus, which is more likely to infect puppies than healthy adult dogs. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lack of appetite and lethargy.

Treatment, which can sometimes be effect in allowing the animal to survive until the virus is gone, can cost several thousands of dollars.

For more information on prevention, treatment and symptoms, click here.