Parvovirus Attacks West Texas Puppies
By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - It's not an easy story to hear. Dogs across the Basin succumbing to a deadly virus and it's spreading like wildfire. The Parvovirus has veterinarian clinics across West Texas staying packed tight and they're sending out a warning to anyone with a puppy.

"It's bad," Dr. Andrew Schwarz with the Angel Veterinary Clinic in Odessa, said. "It's worse right now because we're seeing a lot more of it."

The Angel Clinic in Odessa finds as many as 20 cases of the parvovirus each day in the waiting room.

"I think we're seeing a big increase because we have a lot more dogs spending time inside because it's getting colder and things are being blown around," Dr. Schwarz said.

The parvovirus attacks a young dog's immune system.  It spreads when they come into contact with an infected dog's feces- and about half of the infected animals die from the disease if it's not treated immediately.

"You start seeing your dog become tired, they're not eating anymore, they've vomiting and they have diarrhea," Dr. Schwarz said.

The parvovirus is so rampant right now the Humane Society in Odessa had to make a few changes.

"Recently, we haven't taken in puppies because we were afraid that would happen because it happened to us in the spring and we had a number of them come down with it," Del NeSmith with the Odessa Humane Society, said. "Every puppy we had come in the Spring came down with it and we had to take it to the vet, hook them up to an IV, and then we still lost part of them."

And when the shelter has an outbreak, the cost to treat it is almost more than they can handle.

"It costs us also," NeSmith said. "If one comes down with it, we have to take it to the vet so it's very costly to us and it can run $250 maybe $300 to us and then we adopt it out for $65."

Vets say the most important thing you can do if you have a puppy is make sure they have all their vaccinations.