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Deadly doggie virus season approaches the Valley

PHOENIX — With summer around the corner, canine owners should be aware of the deadly parvovirus disease, which runs most rampant during this time of the year.

Parvovirus, a highly contagious and preventable viral disease that is susceptible to puppies and young dogs, can be fatal if not treated properly.

Dogs can catch it by coming into contact with anything that was touched by an infected canine. The virus is highly resistant and can live in the environment for months, even surviving on inanimate objects.

Bretta Nelson, a representative with the Arizona Humane Society, said the symptoms of the disease — which include diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite — can lead to death without proper medical attention.

“We’ll see hundreds of puppies die from this disease,” she said.

The virus attacks rapidly dividing white blood cells in the body, affecting the intestinal tract most severely. Puppies who catch the disease need to be isolated for up to a year in order to prevent its spread.

Nelson said the virus can easily be prevented with a simple vaccination. She said puppies should get four sets of booster shots between the ages of six- to 20-weeks-old.

Low-cost vaccines are available at weekly clinics in Sunnyslope and South Mountain.

The Arizona Humane Society is also seeking funding to assist the state’s largest Parvo Puppy ICU. They hope to be able to treat approximately 240 puppies and dogs in the first year alone.