If you’ve been following the news this summer, RVers need to know how to protect their dogs from parvo, especially during the current outbreak that’s responsible for the tragic deaths of dozens of pets across the country. .
That’s the main topic of episode 411 of this week’s RV Podcast, which also includes questions about RV news and the RV lifestyle.
You can watch the video version of the podcast on the RV Lifestyle YouTube channel by clicking the player below.
If you prefer the audio-only version, it’s available in all major podcast apps or by clicking the player below.
What is Parvo and what is causing this current epidemic?
It’s hard to imagine a more deadly disease than canine parvovirus, known as CPV or simply parvo. . A vaccine can prevent this infection, but if untreated, the mortality rate he could reach 91%.
Parvo kills rapidly by attacking the digestive tract of puppies and dogs. Parvovirus infection in dogs causes severe dehydration, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea. Parvo in dogs also attacks the immune system, weakening the dog’s ability to fight off bacterial infections. Parvo-infected dogs often die from secondary pneumonia and other bacterial infections.
The current epidemic started as early as 2022, as far as can be determined, with reports of deaths from parvo-like illnesses in Europe dating back to January.
The current outbreak gained national attention in the summer of 2022, with cases first reported in northern Michigan. However, similar cases have been reported in Texas, North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Florida and others.
The outbreak puzzled many, as early tests came back negative for parvo.
Interview: How to protect your dog from Parvo
This week’s guest is Melissa Fitzgerald, Animal Control Officer for Ossego County, Michigan. Northern Michigan was the epicenter of the outbreak, and after much turmoil, dozens of dogs have died in mysterious circumstances now favored by Parvo.
Melissa was the first to sound the alarm about this epidemic, which has now been reported across the country and in Europe.
She’s a special guest on this episode of the RV Podcast.
Now, Melissa Fitzgerald has joined us. Melissa, thank you so much for taking the time to talk about this really important topic. I guess people need to know. when did this start? How many animals are affected? And let’s take it from there and see how prevalent this is.
So towards the end of June we got a few calls saying their dog was dying of parvo. When they took them to the vet, they tested negative for Parvo. So the vet treats them as they see fit. . So we were able to get some autopsies to the MSU lab and they were found to be positive for parvo.
Even though it was initially negative?
negative. correct. So we alerted the USDA that we were seeing more and more cases. , there were probably more than 30 cases in Ossego County.
A dog about to die?
of a dog about to die. The test is still negative, but it was probably parvovirus. So the Michigan Veterinary Department of Agriculture stepped in and started testing the material they had. They put out a press release yesterday saying it was Parvo. We’re trying to get more material from people who have tested negative, whether it’s faeces or whatever, and see what more we can understand about it.
The first mystery is why these sick dogs tested negative for parvo. Were these dogs vaccinated or not?
No, it’s not correct. And that’s also what they’ve decided, not a proper vaccination. This is he 4 or 5 vaccines, but some people believe they can do it as an individual with just one shot, but it’s not. A series of vaccines that are usually given to puppies. And this was looking at dogs under the age of 2 who were affected by this.
What I’m very concerned about is how quickly this seems to be spreading and it’s not just in your area. There were reports like this all over the country.
we have. I’ve been getting calls since I put it on Facebook and in the news. Wisconsin, South Carolina, Florida, Texas. I mean, it’s widespread. And I think the key is proper vaccination.
Should You Avoid Dog Parks?
So what other precautions should you take? It’s incredibly easy to spread. I’ve seen reports of neighboring counties saying they won’t even let their dogs out. I’m not sure if that’s a bit overkill, what advice would you give people on this?
First of all, if you’re traveling with a dog and need a bathroom break, stay off the beaten path for a bit. Pick up after your dog. Cleaning up after the dog. Fecal matter is a huge spread of this. And of course dogs sniff it like they sniff everything. So pick up after your dog. Make sure they’re on a leash, see what they’re smelling, where they’re located, and take them off the beaten path for a potty break.
As for dog parks, what… and this is a tough question. Because so many people use dog parks across the country for their dogs. But frankly, I’m not going to let him go to the dog park for a while. And it’s been vaccinated. Still, I don’t want to miss the chance.
It’s a fair statement because it can stay… Parvo stays in the soil and the area for a very long time. About six months to eight years, I think. Cleanup takes a long time. So I got involved in setting up and running a dog park here. And I hate to say that you probably won’t be taking your dog to the dog park at this point.
Why is this parvo epidemic so ferocious?
Do you know why this is so popular all over the country? It was also reported here. Nashville, Tennessee, Florida, anywhere. seems to be known We have something similar in Europe. Any idea why this outbreak is so widespread and so virulent?
In my opinion what you are seeing now is a shortage of veterinarians. And people are taking advantage of this do-it-yourself vaccination. But they don’t know how to handle it properly. Go to the farm shop and get vaccinated. And it’s designed to keep a constant temperature. And most people don’t know it.
So they pick it up from the farm store. they take it. They put it in their car. The interior of the car is now warm. They might stop by Grandma’s house. They may stop at places to eat. something like that. It’s getting warmer now. It’s been over an hour. And basically you have a vial of liquid that is not effective.
Adequate parvo vaccination is important
So in some of the early reports, people thought their animals were being vaccinated. But like you say, they weren’t properly vaccinated. Somehow this got out of control. And we are learning about the mystery part of this. See elsewhere where people mistook this for canine flu, diagnosed it in the first place, and treated animals that way.
There are probably hundreds of conditions under which this could have been. So if the test is negative, the vet says, “Well, okay. So it could be X, Y, Z.” Treat it as you think it is.
Bottom line, whatever it is, it’s very prevalent now.
I’ll call it Parvo because the state says so.
Vigilance and special parvo precautions required
However, because it is so widespread, so many animals are affected. We urge people to avoid dog parks, places where other animals have gone. then keep them. Make sure they are vaccinated. Also, travelers should check the area to see if it’s trending.
Well, we all love dogs and we all love people who take care of dogs like you.
Well, I appreciate that. And thank you. Word of mouth and the media tend to get hung up on one thing, take it in and blow it up. And basically, it’s about getting your dog properly vaccinated.
Symptoms of parvo
And this isn’t just happening in Michigan. I think that’s another point. Melissa Fitzgerald, you were a wonderful person… I have one question. If someone’s dog gets sick, you need to know what symptoms to look for and what needs to be addressed immediately.
right. At the first sign of diarrhea, bloody stools, vomiting, or lethargy, take him to the vet. The sooner you get there, the more success you can have.
all right. Well, I’m going to watch over my dog, Bo. And I’m sure others are doing the same.
Thank you Melissa Fitzgerald. And check again.
here you are please.
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