Veterinarians are seeing more cases of the parvo virus, an infectious disease that can kill puppies and dogs. One local veterinary clinic has treated seven puppies with the parvo virus in the past month alone.
Parvo disease attacks a dog's GI tract and bone marrow. But it’s easily preventable.
"It's a very hearty virus. It can live for a very long time in the environment and actually has very strict protocols in place to kill it," said Maureen Luschini with Veterinary Medical Center CNY.
At an early age, dogs are supposed to be vaccinated for this and other deadly diseases, which is why they're most susceptible to the virus as puppies, while they’re still in between months of their vaccination series.
Vaccinated adult dogs can carry the virus without feeling it and drop it off at public places. Parvo can live without a host for about six months, which is why vets say not to bring your puppy to a dog park until they are done with their vaccination series.
Vets usually see an increase in parvo patients in the summer as more people buy puppies, and spend more time outside.
But if your dog is not vaccinated, it can end up in a veterinary clinic, isolated from other dogs and people. A long, hospitalized recovery could cost dog owners more than $4,000. A vaccination for parvo costs just $30.
"It is bad, and you always warn the owner, you can't guarantee the puppy will survive. It's one of those cases you really need to have aggressive treatment because it can be very, very debilitating," explained Luschini.
Certain breeds like Pitbulls and Rottweilers are more susceptible to a severe version of the virus, but once the puppy is vaccinated, it’s protected for life.