ANN ARBOR – Parvovirus is on the rise in Washtenaw County, according to the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
The disease, commonly known as Parvo, is a painful gastrointestinal condition that can be fatal if not treated immediately.
“We’re experiencing about a 60% increase in community cases over last year,” veterinarian and Director of Shelter Medicine at HSHV Courtney White said in a statement. “And the alarming thing is that Parvo usually affects puppies, but this year, we’re seeing more adult dog cases than in previous years.”
Though the disease primarily affects puppies, cats can also be at risk depending on the strain of the virus.
Symptoms include foul smelling and sometimes bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever, lack of appetite, dehydration and lethargy.
Unvaccinated pets are at risk of contracting the disease through the feces of infected animals. Parvo is preventable with a simple vaccination.
“We don’t know the reason for this troubling rise for certain,” HSHV CEO Tanya Hilgendorf said in a statement. “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 is reminding community members to be careful where they take unvaccinated puppies and older animals with weakened immune systems.
HSHV is also calling on local pet owners to keep their pet’s vaccines up to date. The shelter offers low-cost vaccine clinics each month that are open to the public.
For more information, visit hshv.org/lcvc.