Another "spike" in the number of animals testing positive for an often fatal, yet preventable, virus has prompted Lee County Domestic Animal Services to again warn pet owners that they need to vaccinate their pets.
The parvo virus reared its ugly head with a number of puppies and young dogs testing positive over the last two weeks, officials with Animal Services said.
It is heartbreaking to euthanize animals that are exposed to the highly contagious illness when a $10 vaccine would have prevented the often fatal illness that causes "extreme pain and suffering," a release on the issue states.
The virus multiplies rapidly in the animal's body, overwhelming the immune system and wreaking havoc within the intestinal tract.
The "Parvo virus is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces, or passed along to puppies from unvaccinated nursing mothers. Common signs include severe vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. The virus can live in organic matter, such as soil, and on other hard surfaces within the household for over a year," the release states.
Parvo, like a number of other animal ailments, can be prevented by inoculation.
The ASPCA recommends a "5-in-1," shot to protect against not only the parvo virus but distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parainfluenza as well.
"Generally, the first vaccine is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a booster is given at four-week intervals until the puppy is 16-20 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age," an info sheet provided on the ASPCA Web site states.
That's good advice for dog lovers.
And it's also as good a time for a reminder that both dogs and cats need to be vaccinated against rabies, which, while rare, is always fatal.
Here in Lee, the Health Department usually sees two to three cases per year, mostly in wild animals.
Finally, while at the vet protecting your pet or pets from illness and disease, consider getting Fido or Fluffy micro-chipped at the same time. Even inside pets can scoot out the door or escape the yard and "chipping" is the best way to see they find their way back home.
- Citizen editorial