NJ dog owners beware: A deadly canine virus is exploding
It's no risk to humans. But it can kill your dog. And it's exploding right now.
Parvovirus is highly contagious and left untreated it's fatal to dogs 90% of the time.
Last year New Jersey experienced an uptick in cases and if New York City is any indication it's bad news for New Jersey and, frankly, the rest of the country.
The New York Post is reporting 25 cases of parvo so far this spring whereas last year it was only 5. The numbers have veterinarians alarmed. Now there's good news and bad news in all of this.
Good news is there's a vaccine against parvovirus. Bad news is your dog can still contract it even with vaccination. Why? Because parvovirus, like our human influenza, has different strains and is always changing.
Puppies who are vaccinated can have an immune response from their mother's milk which can interfere with the parvo vaccine being effective.
So even if your dog is vaccinated, with a 90% fatality rate when left untreated you need to really watch out for this.
Here are the signs your dog may have parvovirus.
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody diarrhea
It can happen to dogs of any age but the younger a dog is the more susceptible to parvo they are. It is spread dog-to-dog but if your dog is never around other dogs don't assume they're safe. A person can carry it without developing any illness then give it to their own dog. Also this virus can linger on surfaces for literally weeks. Disinfecting surface areas your dog comes in contact with can help.
Why is it suddenly spiking? Scientists say the warm winter we just had didn't help to kill off existing parvovirus like a cold winter normally would every year. Spring is when it rebounds so with a mild winter it's coming back with a vengeance.
If you see signs your dog may have parvo get them to a vet immediately. Left untreated parvovirus can kill in 48 to 72 hours.
As if all that isn't enough to worry about for your fur baby, here are some things to know. A brief list of seven human foods you might not know are deadly for dogs. I'm offering this not to be alarmist but to be helpful since we're already on the subject of protecting your pet.
Read this list and I bet you'll find some of these surprising. I know I did.
Seven human foods that can kill your dog
Avocados contain a toxin called persin. To a human it's harmless but to a dog it can cause fluid to accumulate in their lungs and deprive them of oxygen and potentially kill them. Persin is in every part of an avocado so don't give them any.
Anything with caffeine
Coffee, soda, tea, anything that contains caffeine can be bad news for your pooch. Caffeine speeds up a dog's heart rate and 2–4 hours after consuming caffeine, dogs may experience excessive thirst, loss of bladder control, vomiting, and diarrhea. Enough caffeine and they will die.
Grapes and raisins
Believe it or not grapes and raisins are horribly toxic to canines. They cause rapid kidney failure and can be fatal even in small amounts.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol which is found in some candy, some baked goods, toothpaste and chewing gum. If your dog gets into it, after thirty minutes their blood glucose can significantly drop and they can suffer vomiting, coma, seizures and death.
Not good for humans but potentially deadly for dogs given enough of it. Salt could result in neurological disorders, cerebral edema, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and seizures. In extreme cases though salt can be fatal for a dog.
This one we all know. We've heard it for years. Chocolate can kill a dog. That's because it not only contains caffeine but also theobromine. Both are very hard for canines to metabolize. They can cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
Ultimately, depending on how much chocolate they eat, it can cause heart attacks, internal bleeding and death. Did you know the kind of chocolate matters too? The worst for dogs is dark and unsweetened chocolate.
Some may think it's fun to share a little of their beer or other alcohol with their furry best friend but you're not doing them any favors. Alcohol, even in small amounts, can make a dog sick, but in larger amounts can result in lung failure, seizures and death.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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