JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During the coronavirus pandemic, BluePearl Pet Hospital said it's treating more puppies for parvovirus, a disease that can spread through the stool.
“Parvo is a virus that lives in the environment,” explained Clinical Programs Manager Lenore Bacek. “It’s really a virus that we worry about puppies getting especially unvaccinated puppies that haven’t finished their vaccine series.”
BluePearl has more than 90 hospitals in the United States, including several in Northeast Florida. In recent months, the pet hospital says it has seen a 70% increase in the number of parvovirus cases across its hospitals nationwide.
“The good thing is, if it’s treated aggressive in the hospital, it has a fairly good prognosis so upwards of 90% of puppies will survive,” said Bacek. “Untreated though, the prognosis is very poor.”
Bacek said they are still looking at the data to determine the exact cause for the recent spike in cases, but said the coronavirus might be contributing because people are spending more time outside with their pets and some may be feeling the financial impact of the pandemic.
"It's a hard time for people right now," explained Bacek. "Having to prioritize where the money can go and potentially, routine vaccines weren't something that people were able to keep up with."
Basek said they still have to analyze the data to determine which specific regions of the country are seeing an increase in cases.
As the pandemic continues, Basek reminds puppy owners to avoid parks and neighborhood walks until puppies are fully vaccinated. She said owners should work with their veterinarians on a vaccine schedule for all shots to avoid missing any vaccines.
The symptoms of parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, fever, decreased appetite and weight loss.