MADACC, WI Humane officials warning against spike in parvovirus

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) – Officials with the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) and the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) are calling for people to have their dogs and puppies vaccinated against the deadly parvovirus as the number of parvo-positive dogs entering the facilities has spiked. MADACC alone has seen 16 cases in the last 18 hours.

The virus is not spreading at either shelter, nor is there an outbreak within the shelters, but the rise in parvo-positive dogs being brought to MADACC and WHS have officials concerned.

“Parvo is a highly contagious and deadly virus,” explained veterinarian Dr. Jane Pohlman with the Wisconsin Humane Society. “The virus is usually passed in stools and can last in the environment for more than a year under the right conditions. Parvo affects both young dogs and unvaccinated adult dogs; for both, it is often fatal.”

Symptoms of the parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), lethargy, pain, dehydration, sepsis, and death. Because parvo is a viral disease, there is no cure. Treatment is aimed at maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, and preventing secondary bacterial infection.

“People are taking life-threatening risks when they expose their unvaccinated pets to the outdoors, especially in areas that other dogs have been,” said Karen Sparapani, MADACC’s executive director. “It is imperative to have your dog or puppy vaccinated against parvo – it’s a preventable illness, and the vaccines are widely available.”

The parvo vaccine is part of routine veterinary vaccinations recommended for all puppies and dogs. The vaccine is generally administered around six weeks and is re-administered three to four additional times before a dog is a year old and annually after that. All dogs who enter MADACC or WHS are vaccinated immediately against parvovirus as a preventative measure.

MADACC and WHS officials are asking all Milwaukee-area dog guardians to make sure their dogs are current on the parvovirus vaccination. If you suspect your dog or puppy has parvovirus, please see a veterinarian immediately.

The WHS Milwaukee Campus is hosting a public vaccine clinic from 1-3pm on Tuesday, July 30. RSVP not necessary. The Racine Campus also hosts vaccine clinics; for info call 262-554-6699.

MADACC: To make a private appointment to get a rabies and parvovirus vaccine, call 414-649-8640.

For more information on parvo and upcoming low-cost vaccine clinics, visit http://www.wihumane.org or www.madacc.com.

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