Canine parvovirus, a fast-acting, potentially deadly gastrointestinal disease in puppies and adult dogs, is alive and well in Tampa Bay. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Animal Health Center has seen a significant rise in the number of owned pets infected with the disease and is urging citizens to make sure their pets are vaccinated.
Parvovirus most frequently attacks puppies younger than one year of age, but unvaccinated adult dogs are also susceptible. While most infected adults recover, with expensive treatment, as many as 25% to 50% of infected puppies die from the disease if not diagnosed and treated immediately.
“Parvo is a devastating, highly-contagious and costly disease that strikes rapidly and without warning,” said HSTB Executive Director Sherry Silk. “Thankfully, a vaccination is available and we urge the community to make sure their dogs are up-to-date on their shots.”
Vaccinations for parvovirus are available at the Society’s Animal Health Center (813-870-3304) as well as veterinary practices, mobile clinics and some pet stores across Tampa Bay.
Puppies are not fully immunized from the disease until they complete their initial vaccination and a series of booster shots, at four months of age. Adult dogs should receive their vaccination on an annual basis to remain protected.
HOW PARVOVIRUS SPREADS
Parvovirus spreads when a dog comes in contact with the feces of an infected dog. Warm weather provides a perfect environment for the virus to thrive, allowing it to remain infectious on contaminated ground for months. Therefore, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay recommends keeping puppies under four months and unvaccinated adult dogs away from areas with lots of dog traffic (parks, beaches, kennels, pet stores, etc) to avoid possible infection.
SYMPTOMS OF PARVOVIRUS
Early diagnosis is critical to providing immediate and life-saving treatment. If your pet displays any of the following symptoms, please contact our Animal Health Center (813-870-3304) or your veterinarian immediately.
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargy or listlessness
- Abdominal distention (pot belly) or discomfort
- Signs of dehydration
- Bloody diarrhea
- Profuse diarrhea
TREATMENT OF PARVOVIRUS
Treatment involves addressing dehydration and preventing fatal infection. A rapid, in-clinic test will confirm the presence of the virus. For a mildly affected pet (usually an adult dog), outpatient care may be all that is needed. For severely affected pets (typically puppies) hospitalization is generally required.
After months of rigorous review by veterinary experts, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s (HSTB) Animal Health Center became Florida’s first non-profit animal hospital awarded accreditation by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Considered the Gold Standard in the industry, AAHA accreditation involves evaluation on 900 standards of veterinary care.
“We aim to lead the way for the health and well-being of companion animals in our community and beyond,” said HSTB Executive Director Sherry Silk. “Being the first non-profit in our state, and one of only 18 in the nation, to receive AHAA accreditation confirms that we are on the right path.”
Only 12-15% of animal hospitals in North America have gone through the demanding and time-consuming accreditation process with a total of 3,200 accredited practices.
“Being AAHA-accredited means we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” said HSTB Director of Medical Operations Dr. Karla Bard. “Pets are our passion and keeping them healthy through excellent care is our #1 priority; because they deserve nothing less.”
The Animal Health Center provides affordable, high-quality veterinary care to the public seven days a week. Any proceeds from the Animal Health Center will benefit the mission and programs at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
Why Accreditation Is Important For Pets
Being accredited by AAHA, you can rest assured that your pet will receive the very best in veterinary care at our facility. Here are just a few reasons why:
-To receive and maintain accreditation, animal hospitals must meet approximately 900 rigorous evaluation standards every three years
-AAHA standards of excellence do not vary between states or provinces (AAHA accredits hospitals in both the U.S. and Canada)
-AAHA accredited animal hospitals are the elite few, with only 3,200 passing accreditation in the U.S. and Canada
-AAHA accreditation is recognized as the standard of veterinary excellence