BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) – Canine influenza has been a big concern for dog owners this year, with more than 1,000 confirmed cases across the Midwest, including Illinois. Now, local veterinarians are saying the parvovirus is going around the Quad Cities Area.
The virus has been around, across the US, for a long time. Every now and then, usually in warmer months, veterinarians say they see a rise in the number of cases. Bruce Benge with the Animal Emergency Center of the Quad Cities says that’s been happening over the last month or so here, and there was also a peak earlier this year in spring. Parvovirus is preventable, but he says a lot of pet owners haven’t given their dogs the full series of the available vaccine. Dogs under two are especially at risk.
Meanwhile, pet owner Jim Fudge says his dog, Buddy, has lived a relatively healthy three years of life.
“A little bit of kennel cough,” Fudge said. “I wouldn’t say anything more than that.”
Fudge, says he’d like things to stay that way.
“We got him at the Milan shelter and that was a really nice place and I’m just terribly attached to him, he’s kind of my little guy,” he said. “It’s important for him to stay healthy so he lives a very long healthy life and just be happy.”
But some other dogs in the area aren’t doing so hot. Several pups are currently in the isolation room at the Animal Emergency Center of the Quad Cities. They’re some of 9 dogs infected this week alone at that facility alone with the parvovirus.
“They’re not eating, they’re vomiting, they’re having diarrhea,” Benge said. “Sometimes the diarrhea can be very bloody.”
Benge says parvo is found in dog stool and can survive in the environment for months.
“The hardest thing to realize is that that stool, if it has been there, been rained on and been exposed to the environment, it’s going to kind of break down and not look like that much so it could be in the ground right there and thats where, if a dog is out there playing, chewing on the grass, and maybe find just a little bit of that fecal material, they can expose themselves,” Benge said.
Even with the best treatment, he says around 20 percent of dogs diagnosed with parvovirus don’t make it.
“Because that virus is that serious,” Benge said.
He says prevention is the best bet.
“Actually, there’s a very good vaccination protocol that is out there for it,” Benge said. “To be honest, there’s many owners out there that just don’t understand the importance of it.”
He advises going to dog parks at your own risk. Fudge says he hadn’t yet heard of the threat but now plans to check in with his vet so that Buddy can still live that long, healthy life.
“When we hear something is going around, we ask them,” Fudge said.
Veterinarians say they recommend the parvovirus vaccination even if your dogs are over two years old. While the series is available at some retail stores, usually at a lower price, they say going to a vet could be best for your dog’s health in the longrun as they would be able to make sure it’s properly administered.