Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Steamboat Springs Officials at the Steamboat Springs Animal Shelter euthanized 14 dogs, mostly puppies, since last week because of a parvo outbreak. Animal Control officer Stacy Hayes said dogs without updated vaccinations are at high risk of catching the potentially lethal disease.
Parvo is a viral disease that prevents a dog's intestines from absorbing water and nutrients.
Animals that survive parvo can transmit the disease through fecal matter up to a year after they have recovered.
"Every (unvaccinated) dog that sniffs an infected dropping could get it," Hayes said.
Puppies are the most susceptible to disease, but older dogs can easily get it, too, she said.
The first sign of parvo at the shelter was in a litter of infected Austrian shepherd and Labrador mix puppies last week. Those dogs infected a litter of Labrador and pit bull mix puppies and a litter of husky puppies.
All of the puppies, 13 in all, and one adult dog were put down.
Parvo has an 85 percent survival rate, but the treatment costs $600 to $900 for one animal. The shelter could not afford to pay the cost for each puppy, Hayes said.
"It all could have been avoided if people would have vaccinated their dogs," she said.
Vaccinations cost about $50 per pet. Puppies should have three sets of shots in their first year and then one set each year after that, Hayes said.
"There is no reason for someone to have an animal for more than six months and not have it vaccinated," she said.
Parvo outbreaks are common during this time of the year because dogs' immune systems are weakened by the cold, Hayes said.
Also, Hayes said she has recently seen more dogs running loose, which she said is common during the early winter months. That increases the chance of the virus spreading.
She urged people to keep their pets on leashes and watch out for what their dogs are sniffing.
A dog that comes down with parvo will have bloody diarrhea, vomit and act extremely lethargic. It can set in quickly, within hours after contracting the virus, Hayes said.
It's important to get an infected dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure a recovery.
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