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Lee County residents warned of canine parvo virus outbreak

By Staff | May 17, 2013

Fort Myers Lee County Domestic Animal Services is warning pet owners to vaccinate their pets against highly contagious and deadly diseases. This warning comes after a spike in puppies that tested positive for parvo virus this past week. These puppies were brought to Animal Services for veterinary care by their owners receiving government public assistance.

“It is heartbreaking that our tax dollars must be used to euthanize canines exposed to parvo virus due to irresponsible owners who do not vaccinate their pets against deadly diseases. A $10 vaccine is much less expensive than treatment or euthanasia if the pet cannot be saved, not to mention the extreme pain and suffering the pet experiences. If you truly care about your pets, you will ensure they are protected through vaccination,” stated shelter director Donna Ward.

Animal Services protocols include fully vaccinating animals upon intake. Dogs less than one year of age are tested for parvo virus.

“These protocols ensure the health of all animals housed in our shelter and pet owners acquiring puppies and adult dogs should follow the same protocols,” stated shelter veterinarian, Dr. Suzanne Vazzana. She also recommends pet owners limit their pet’s exposure to other animals by not visiting pet stores, dog beaches and dog parks until their pet has been fully vaccinated.

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.

More information about proper pet care and a list of local veterinary, emergency, and low-cost clinics, is available at www.leelostpets.com.