Humane Society of Huron Valley seeing more dogs with life-threatening illness
Ann Arbor, MI (April 26, 2023) — The public veterinary clinic at the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) is seeing a concerning trend that area pet owners should know about: Parvovirus is on the rise.
“We’re experiencing about a 60% increase in community cases over last year,” says Dr. Courtney White, Veterinarian and Director of Shelter Medicine at HSHV. “And the alarming thing is that Parvo usually affects puppies, but this year, we’re seeing more adult dog cases than in previous years.”
Parvovirus is a serious and painful gastrointestinal disease that is often fatal without emergency veterinary treatment. Dogs, typically puppies, are more susceptible than cats, but cats may also be at risk depending on the strain. Symptoms include vomiting, foul smelling and sometimes bloody diarrhea, lack of appetite, fever, lethargy and dehydration.
While Parvovirus does not pose a danger to humans, unvaccinated pets can contract the disease through contact with infected animals’ feces. Fortunately, Parvovirus is largely preventable with a simple vaccination which is part of the standard core vaccines provided by veterinarians.
“We don’t know the reason for this troubling rise for certain,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, HSHV’s CEO. “But we do know that we have a nationwide veterinary crisis related to access and affordability. Too many people can’t get the medical care their animals need, and, sadly, more people are surrendering pets because of it. We’re doing everything we can to keep loving pet families together and to keep community animals healthy, but this is a big systemic problem that needs more solutions.”
HSHV reminds folks that it is important to keep their pets up-to-date on vaccines and to be careful where they expose puppies who haven’t yet been fully vaccinated and older animals with weaker immune systems. Folks can get the Parvo vaccine with their regular veterinarian, or HSHV offers monthly low-cost vaccine clinics that are open to the public. For more information on and to register for a vaccine clinic at HSHV, see hshv.org/lcvc.