Several dogs have tested positive for a deadly disease called parvovirus at the Wisconsin Humane Society – Racine Campus, which is prompting officials from WHS to ask dog owners to make sure their pets are vaccinated against the disease.

Officials with WHS have seen seven dogs over the past week come into the shelter with the virus. Two arrived dead, three died at the shelter despite efforts to save them and two puppies are receiving treatment, according to a press release by the Wisconsin Humane Society.

While the virus is highly contagious and deadly, it is not spreading at the shelter.

“The virus is usually passed in stools and can last in the environment for years. Parvo affects both young dogs and unvaccinated adult dogs; for both, it is often fatal,” said veterinarian Dr. Nadine Langston with the Wisconsin Humane Society Racine Campus.

Symptoms of the parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), lethargy, pain, dehydration, sepsis, and death. Because parvo is a viral disease, there is no cure. Treatment is aimed at maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, and preventing secondary bacterial infection.

“It is life-threatening to take your unvaccinated puppy outdoors in places where dogs frequent, such as dog parks,” said Dr. Langston. “It is a preventable illness, but several booster vaccines are necessary before your dog is fully protected, so young puppies are especially susceptible to contracting the illness.”

Most puppies and dogs receive the parvo vaccine as part of a routine veterinary vaccination. The vaccine is given at six weeks, then three to four more times before the dog’s first birthday. After that it’s given annually.

All dogs who enter WHS are vaccinated immediately against parvovirus as a preventative measure. If you suspect your dog or puppy has parvovirus, please see a veterinarian immediately.

The Wisconsin Humane Society at low-cost vaccine clinics, which are open to the public and no appointments are necessary.

  • Thursday, August 3 (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) – WHS Racine Campus, 2706 Chicory Road, Racine
  • Tuesday, August 8 (9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.) – WHS Milwaukee Campus, 4500 W. Wisconsin Ave, MKE
  • Thursday, August 17 (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) – WHS Racine Campus, 2706 Chicory Road, Racine
  • Tuesday, August 22 (9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.) – WHS Milwaukee Campus, 4500 W. Wisconsin Ave, MKE
  • Sunday, August 27 (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) – Dover Town Hall, 4110 S Beaumont Ave, Kansasville
  • Thursday, August 31 (10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) – WHS Racine Campus, 2706 Chicory Road, Racine

Pricing for dogs & cats is as follows: DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo) $18; Rabies only $18; Both DHPP & Rabies $30; Bordetella $20; Microchip $25. Other services may be available. Please contact the campus nearest you for details.

 

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.