SARASOTA, Fla. -- Canine influenza has been found in 36 states, including Florida.
The good news is vets in Tampa Bay say it hasn’t reached here yet, but it may just a matter of time. Vets say the flu isn’t what pet owners need to worry about. The Parvovirus is starting to show up.
Sara Cepale didn’t think twice about taking her 7-month-old mixed breed puppy, Bentley, to the dog park until she told some friends.
“I was very concerned. I had a few question me, why I was bringing him to the dog park and taking such a risk,” said Cepale.
But just to make sure, Cepale called her veterinarian and asked if she had seen cases of canine influenza.
Cepale said her vet had not had a problem.
“She felt in this part of the country, we did not need to worry,” she said.
Dr Howard Small at Forest Lake Animal Clinic says he is seeing flu-like symptoms in dogs.
“This time of year we are seeing an uptick in upper respiratory infection that can be parainfluenza virus or bacteria,” said Small.
Symptoms include fever, coughing, lethargy and loss of appetite.
“If your dog goes to the park, boarding facilities, high density places like day care settings I would have your vet vaccinate for the flu just to give you that extra piece of mind,” explained Small.
But right now in this area vets say the Parvovirus is more of a threat. “Parvo is deadly…cure rate is low…less than 50%,” said Small.
Nate’s Honor Rescue in Lakewood Ranch lost a puppy to parvo earlier this month. Twenty-three dogs got sick, too, but recovered. The shelter stopped adoptions for several days to disinfect the facility.
“They get it from other dogs its shed in their feces and overcrowding situations are more at risk,” explained Small.
The parvo outbreak at Honor’s started when the rescue took in more than two dozen dogs from a shelter in rural Georgia. Small says puppies between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks are at a high risk if they have not been vaccinated.
Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
Small says he recently treated a puppy bought from a breeder on line in Texas that wasn’t vaccinated. Two days after he got sick, Small says the puppy died.
“It’s out there. I want to emphasize -- get your pet vaccinated.”
Bentley has all his shots.
Cepale said, “I feel comfortable bringing him to the park he loves it.”
Small recommends young adult dogs that have not had boosters for Parvo in a long time to get immunized. He says puppies can get their shots when they’re as young as 6 weeks old.
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