Parvovirus Attacks West Texas Dogs

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

This story might break your heart. A deadly virus is attacking man's best friend. 

This fall more than ever, dogs are at risk for the Parvovirus, it attacks their intestines and doesn't leave much hope for survival.

Meet Bon Jovi. He's one of many West Texas dogs that have a deadly intestinal illness.

"It's a very terrible disease watching your dog go from being happy and healthy to being depressed," Dr. Henry Lide, with University Small Animal Clinic, said.

NewsWest 9 poke with vets all around the Basin on Wednesday, and they all agree the Parvovirus seems to be worse than usual this fall.

"I think this year we've had the rain and a susceptible population, so we have an increase in the amount we're seeing," Dr. Lide said.

The symptoms are similar to what we would have with the flu: dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.

"I think flies play a big role in spreading the Parvovirus," Dr. Lide said. "I think our fly population is at a very high level."

Parvovirus isn't a big threat to us, but dogs can easily spread the illness to each other.

"It's fecal to oral transmission," Dr. Lide said.

Bon Jovi is one of the lucky ones, he's been vaccinated for the virus, and holds a better chance of recovery if a dog hasn't received the Parvovirus shot, the chance of survival is only about 30 percent.

"The problem with a lot of clients is that they don't have them vaccinated, and then they don't follow up on their vaccination," Dr. Lide said.

It's most dangerous in puppies, and vets want to get the word out.

"It's a very prevalent disease and it needs to be dealt with," Dr. Lide said. "Prevention is the key, I prefer to vaccinate them rather than treat them."

And for Midland Animal Control, the past few weeks have been heart-breaking. Dogs brought in with the Parvovirus risk infecting the entire center, and with no on-site veterinarian, they're forced to make a tough decision.

"Since we don't have a vet on staff, we have no choice, but to euthanize it," Midland Animal Control Assistant Director John Nevaro, said.

Even if you adopt an animal, they're only given the rabies shot. It's up to the dog's new family to get the other necessary vaccinations.

"Vaccinate your animals, take your puppy straight to the vet, make sure he gets all his shots, immunities and everything," Nevaro said.

Dr. Lide tells us the cost for getting a puppy vaccinated is about $11. But if they contract Parvovirus, the treatments can be up to thousands of dollars.