AHS Vets on Pets: Dr. Bruce Bean on Parvo/Distemper
Dr. Bruce Bean, DVM, Can Be Found Every Friday at AHS’ Veterinary Clinic Providing Animals with Vaccinations to Prevent Parvo and Distemper.
Spring has sprung, and with the beautiful flowers and breezy weather comes the season for Canine Parvovirus (parvo) and distemper. See Dr. Bean’s advice on recognizing the symptoms below, as well as how preventable the deadly disease is.
Dr. Bruce Bean has been with the Arizona Humane Society for 31 years. While his specialty was shelter spay/neuter surgery (he has performed more than 75,000!), he also performed orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries in our Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital™ when needed. A skilled veterinarian, he spent time working at private practices in both Phoenix and Detroit, Michigan, before coming to AHS. Dr. Bean graduated from Michigan State University in 1974 and performed his surgical residency at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. Dr. Bean can be found every Friday at AHS’ Marge Wright Veterinary Clinic at AHS’ Sunnyslope Campus where AHS offers affordable vaccine clinics to the public.
For dogs suspected of having parvo or distemper, it is critical that they be checked by a veterinarian immediately and isolated from other dogs within the home. In addition to being quarantined, treatment for parvo includes IV fluids, either as an outpatient or through hospitalization, anti-nausea medications and antibiotics. Treatment can take three-seven days. If the dog is not treated by a veterinarian, the chances of survival become very grim. Sadly, there is no specific treatment for distemper.
Parvo is a highly-contagious, often fatal, viral disease in dogs that attacks the intestines. It’s commonly spread via feces of infected dogs and symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, depression and loss of appetite.
These symptoms (vomit, diarrhea, lethargy) can also be signs of the highly-contagious, often fatal, whole body distemper virus which can also be spread via feces and inhalation. The distemper virus also presents itself with respiratory symptoms such as nasal discharge and callusing of nose/foot pads and also has the potential for neurological symptoms such as seizures and twitching.
• High fever
• Loss of appetite
Puppies are most susceptible to the parvo and distemper viruses; therefore, it is imperative that they receive all of their vaccinations beginning at 6 weeks of age with booster shots given every three-four weeks until the puppy is between 18-20 weeks old. Once the initial series of shots is complete, adult dogs will need their immune system boosted annually to protect against parvo/distemper and other diseases; however, it is best to consult with your veterinarian on the best vaccination schedule for your pet.
AHS is proud to be one of the few shelters that treats parvo through our Parvo Puppy ICU. While we work tirelessly to save as many puppies as we can, parvo is deadly and extremely contagious. However, the good news is that both parvo and distemper are highly preventable through vaccination!
Both parvo and distemper can have very adverse effects on our community; therefore, people must be very careful when taking their pets to communal areas such as dog parks or other public places with unknown dogs. Puppies who have not been fully vaccinated should not attend communal areas until they have had all of their booster shots. In addition to puppies, unvaccinated dogs are at high risk for contracting both diseases.
Vaccinating your pet is easy, inexpensive, & can save your pet’s life. Pet vaccines help protect your dog or cat from contagious diseases, many of which can cause serious illness or death. AHS’ Veterinary Clinics provide affordable vaccinations every Friday on a walk-in basis from 8 a.m. – noon and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. The $27 office visit fee is waived and vaccinations are just $21 each!