Veterinarian urges prevention from parvovirus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Veterinarian urges prevention from parvovirus

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An East Albany veterinarian says parvovirus-virus is at an epidemic level in young dogs and many puppies could die because of the high cost of treatment for the virus.

He's urging folks to vaccinate their puppies and make sure they get all boosters to protect their pets.

Dr. Fred Freeland is an animal lover, who runs a non-profit veterinary clinic.  He says the parvovirus outbreak in Albany is so bad, he wants to organize vaccination clinics to reach and save as many puppies as possible.

Dr. Fred Freeland with Animal Pet Partners says he has been overwhelmed with victims of the intestinal virus.

"We're hoping to approach this from an epidemic standpoint," says Freeland. "And if we can build the population immunity, just like the flu, it reduces the transmission risk."

Parvovirus is spread dog to dog, but also by environmental contamination. This year's wet spring seems to have increased that contamination risk, keeping the virus alive for months to maybe even a year. That virus attacks puppies.

"[For] any puppy that loses it's appetite, especially if they begin vomiting, develops diarrhea that turns bloody, and that puppy is under six months old and doesn't have a complete vaccine series, assume it's parvovirus," reminds Freeland. 

His clinic is nearly full with parvovirus patients, and many other dog owners have declined treatment because it's so expensive. From 300 to more than one thousand dollars to treat infected dogs.

The way to protect puppies is a full vaccine program. Now Dr. Freeland is hoping to team with other organizations to host vaccine clinics to protect the pups.

"I've placed an initial order for 100 doses of vaccine," says Freeland. "We'll see what our turn out is.  We haven't nailed down times and places yet."

Dr. Freeland is urging pet owners to make sure young dogs have their vaccines and boosters, to protect them from parvovirus.

He says the virus epidemic is as serious as he has seen it in years, and failure to get puppies vaccinated could soon require costly treatment for infected dogs.

Dr. Freeland says lots of people are buying puppies at flea markets lately, and parvovirus is a serious problem if people don't get those dogs vaccinated.

Popular breeds including pit bulls, Dobermans, and rottweilers seem to be more susceptible to parvovirus.

Dr. Freeland is trying to work with the Albany Humane Society to set up vaccine clinic days soon.

We will keep you updated on the details of that clinic.

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