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Parvo, distemper cases spike in El Paso

By Stephanie Valle, Anchor and Reporter, StephanieV@kvia.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 07:22:13 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 07:41:44 PM CST
EL PASO, Texas -

Cases of parvo and distemper have been popping up all over El Paso at an alarming rate.

Dr. Bernie Page, the head of El Paso Animal Services, said that is not the only concern surrounding the emergence of the canine diseases.

"We are seeing a new strain -- several new strains, as a matter of fact," said Page. "And also a recurrence of an old strain we saw in the 1950s." Page added that dogs will have less resistance built up in their systems.

The veterinarian has seen about 25 cases each at the shelter each week for the last few weeks.

"Almost all of them are coming in on entry or within the first 24 to 48 hours demonstrating the disease, so most of it's been coming from the outside," Page said, adding for emphasis, "Which means, it's in the community."

Parvo symptoms include extreme depression, vomiting, and bloody, loose stool. Dogs also become depressed with distemper -- but they also get gummy eyes and nose and a cough.

"Both of these disease are potentially deadly and have a high mortality rate on them," said Page, adding that they can also be expensive to treat.

"If people will vaccinate, they can keep it out of the community and they can keep it out of their homes. But keeping a dog isolated in your house is not a guarantee that they're not going to contract the disease if you haven't vaccinated."

Distemper is airborne and parvo can become airborne, but they do not spread to cats or humans.

Contact your vet if you have any questions about vaccinating.

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