Parvovirus worse than last year in Indiana, dogs of all ages at risk

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By Eric Levy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 24, 2014) -- Parvovirus, or "Parvo" for short, continues to hit Indiana dogs hard this year.

It's so bad that one veterinarian is noticing recovery time is double of what it normally takes.

"Typically, an animal that needs to be hospitalized for Parvo, two to three days in the hospital and they're pretty much over it. This year, however, it's been taking closer to six or seven days just to get a dog over it," said Dr. Mark Petersmann, a veterinarian with VCA West 86th St. Animal Clinic in Indianapolis.

Petersmann isn't sure why it's so bad this year. Parvo is spread through the dog ingesting what another dog left behind.

"It can also be from you picking it up on your shoes or hands or clothing and bringing it home and then your dog licking you," he said.

Symptoms are very similar to what you might have if you picked up a nasty stomach bug, so, if your dog starts vomiting and becomes ill, Petersmann suggests getting it to a hospital fast. While Parvo typically affects young dogs, that's not always the case.

"I have had several colleagues of mine that have seen adult animals that have gotten it, even if they have been vaccinated for it at times," he said.

Vaccination is the best prevention method. Dogs that are a few weeks old should be given at least two doses of an available vaccine before coming in contact with other dogs. Petersmann suggests if you do get a dog from a pet store or a breeder, take it to a veterinarian. He, and many others, will do free evaluations to make sure the dog is healthy.