Local veterinarians say suspected dog poisonings could actually be fatal virus

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CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — At the Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Cheektowaga, Doctor Stephanie West says despite posts going around on social media she hasn’t seen any confirmed cases of poisoning in the area. Instead. she’s seeing something else.

“People think they are poisoned because of some of the signs they have vomitting, they have diarrhea, it can be bloody diarrhea, for many of them we are finding that it’s parvovirus,” said Stephanie West, Veterinary Emergency Clinic Hospital Administrator.

Parvovirus is very contagious to dogs and especially puppies. It can be fatal and Doctor West says certain breeds like pit bulls, rottweilers, and dobermans are more susceptible but all dog breeds are affected.

“It can happen very very suddenly and that’s scary that looks like a poisoning it can start as simple as your dog is a little lethargic meaning doesn’t want to do a lot, then they might not want to eat so much, then suddenly there might be some vomitting,” said Dr. West.

She says like the flu virus parvovirus is common, but there are certain seasons when there’s an outbreak. And she says right now there’s an outbreak of parvovirus in dogs across Western New York.

“The virus does live in the environment a long time. So if you have one dog who has parvovirus and that dog has contaminated the environment let’s say he had a little diarrhea in that one spot, your dog walks by and maybe he chews on a stick there or maybe he licks his paws now he gets it,” said Dr. West.

Doctor West says owners who keep up with routine veterinary care should have up to date vaccines for their pet. But she says the problem is a lot of dogs aren’t vaccinated or aren’t fully and haven’t received the series of vaccines needed.

She recommends bringing your pet to the veterinarian right away if you see any signs of illness. Treating parvovirus involves a very intense treatment program but there is hope if the virus is caught early.

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