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10/6/2013 6:00:00 AM
Parvo upswing in Mohave County causing concern

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The number of dogs being treated for the parvovirus has increased significantly in the Kingman area over the past 30 days, according to Dr. James "J.D." Anderson, DVM.

"We used to see one to two cases a month," said Anderson, the operator of Manzanita Animal Hospital. "Now, we're seeing one to two a day."

Other veterinarians also reported an uptick in parvo cases, although not to the extreme experienced at Manzanita.

Anderson said this particular outbreak is very aggressive, with about a 50 percent fatality rate regardless of treatment.

The best defense to protect dogs, particularly puppies, is to ensure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

"It's affecting dogs with sketchy vaccine histories," said Anderson.

Anderson said many pet owners misunderstand how vaccines work, and others simply don't get them.

"Vaccines have to be given in a series," he said. "In reality, we don't know when the immune system will be able to deal with it and give them the ability to mount an immune response."

Anderson said the wetter-than-usual monsoon season and the number of flies present now with cooler weather might have something to do with the increase in cases, but he can't say with any degree of certainty.

"I wonder if flies can spread it," he said. A single ounce of canine feces contains millions of particles of the virus and single fly can land on, fly into a yard and land and spread the virus.

Parvo, as it's known colloquially, is highly contagious and is transmitted primarily through infected feces. It can stay in the ground for up to 18 months.

Dogs carry the virus in their hair and feet, and on contaminated shoes, dog crates and most any other object. When the dog licks feces, and has not previously been vaccinated, chances are the animal will acquire the virus.

Parvo is a systemic disease and doesn't affect all dogs the same way. The virus can attack the gastrointestinal tract, the brain - leading to meningitis - and cause cardiac complications.

Bone marrow can also be affected, killing white blood cells.

"Whatever strain this is, it is very aggressive," said Anderson, who said the bulk of cases he's seeing are from the Butler and Golden Valley areas.

He said socio-economics play a role, either because people neglect their dogs or can't afford to have them vaccinated.

Dogs of all ages are susceptible, but puppies younger than 20 weeks are most vulnerable.

Parvo incubates on average four or five days before symptoms appear. They include depression, vomiting and diarrhea, which may or may not have blood and or mucus, and some but not all dogs will have a high fever. Dehydration develops rapidly.

The moral of the story, agrees Anderson, is to vaccinate your dogs. If you're uncertain if your animal is up to date on its shots, Anderson said dogs can be revaccinated with only a small risk of an adverse reaction.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013
Article comment by: Animal Lover

Not everyone is comfortable with giving vaccines. Whether you buy the vaccines at a Feed Store or have them administered at a Vet's Office....There are plenty of options out there. UR Pets can not get the vaccines themselves. Just GET it Dunnn Peeps!!

Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013
Article comment by: Animal Lover

Our dog Is at the vet getting treated for parvo right now. He already had all his shots. So the vaccine company will cover 1500$ which it's 400 to 500$ a day. We're really glad we didn't do the vaccines you buy and do yourself since they don't cover anything if your per still gets it.

Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013
Article comment by: Shelly Stappard

I have used shots from "Rough Stock" Feed store on Northern and can vouch they work well indeed! They are very easy to give and under $10 a shot! If you don't know how to do it they will show you. No waiting in line at the LCSN Clinic for two-three hours. I have been using their vaccines for years.

Posted: Monday, October 7, 2013
Article comment by: Animal Lover

I've gone to the Shot Clinics at LCSNC many times. It's Great & It's Affordable!!! Why NOT do it. Only $15 for a Parvo/Distemper Vaccine. If you don't want to go the the Shot Clinic the Office Fee is only $10!! Parvo/Distemper is so preventable by simply following the vaccine series. Especially if you have a Puppy or Kitten. When I get a new Pet it's one of the first things I do is to take them to the Vet to get started & then of course get them Spayed/Neutered. Its a lot healthier for the Animals. It sure beats not having to go thru the heart ache of seeing my Pet possibly suffer & get the horrible virus. I challenge the people of Mohave County to be more responsible Pet Owners!!

Posted: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Article comment by: Desert Rose

The Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic on Northern has a shot clinic once a month. It is only $15 to get the shots puppies need. If you miss the clinic the office visit is $10 plus the $15. I am financially strapped but this is something that I can afford. Vets charge way too much for the same service. The LCSNC also offers other veterinarian services that other vets won't tell you. I had to put my beloved best friend to sleep. He was 15 years old. My vet wanted $70. At the clinic I was only charged $30. They were very compassionate and kind. The people that work there are wonderful and truly love what they do. The clinic's number is in the yellow pages under veterinarians.

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