Parvo remains concern for dog owners as winter nears

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The parvovirus is a disease that infects the digestive tract. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms, and while it is not always a death sentence, “It is a very contagious virus,“ says Kimberly Hayes, a veterinarian at Sierra Veterinary Specialists. “For the most part any patient that gets sick with parvo will die within three to five days. Its not a death sentence for older dogs, but for puppies it generally is."

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Dogs come across the virus in water from rain or snowmelt, where it can stay for a long time.

“The virus can actually live in the soil for up to ten years,” Hayes said, who added parvo can affect all dogs, but there aren’t any breeds that are more susceptible.

“I think what happens is there are some breeds that are owned and the clients don’t seek medical attention, but I don’t believe there is a breed specific predilection.”

Vaccinations are available, though they are not required, and it’s clear why.

“It’s not legally required,” Hayes explained. “Rabies is only required because it’s a human health vaccine and people can get rabies from dogs.”

Hayes says that at Sierra Veterinary Specialists, they see at least one case of parvo per week.