(KMTR) -- Roseburg
veterinarian Dr. Blair Bailey says he usually treats one or two dogs with parvovirus each month. In October, he treated twelve.
Parvovirus is a gastrointestinal disease. The warning signs include lack of appetite, extreme diarrhea and vomiting and rapid weight loss. It's more serious the younger the dog. A puppy can die as quickly as 24 hours after contracting the virus.
There is a vaccine that keeps dogs protected for up to a year, but if your dog is behind on its vaccines, it's at risk because the virus is very contagious.
"They're not going to get it from [contact with] another dog. They're going to pick up from an area where another dog's been," explains Dr. Bailey. "They're going to pick it up off the ground, they're going to pick it off the curb, pavement, some place where a dog's done their bathroom. Even after these dogs have recovered from the disease, they're still very, very contagious."
There is a feline parvovirus that affects cats, but Dr. Bailey says it's completely different. The disease he's referring to only affects dogs.
If your dog hasn't been vaccinated against parvovirus within the last year, you'll want to take care of that right away. Dr. Bailey says it's okay if you want to use at-home vaccinations, but make sure you follow the instructions very carefully. If the parvovirus vaccination is not given properly it will not protect your dog.