KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Local veterinarians are pleading for pet owners to see them before taking their pooch for a stroll due to a potentially deadly virus called parvo.
Santana is one of the lucky dogs.
"It's life threatening, it's dangerous," Kate Fields, CEO of The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, said.
Santana’s owner surrendered him to the humane society after he tested positive for a parvo, and could not afford the treatment.
"We're seeing way too much of it, and it's to me gotten to a point where we need to make sure people understand," Fields said.
The dangerous virus that can cause a variety of symptoms.
"Vomiting, diarrhea, sometimes you just notice that they may seem sleepy or more lethargic, they're not wanting to eat," Cynthia Goldston, veterinarian at HSGKC, said.
In the last six weeks, the humane society said they’ve seen 72 parvo cases.
"We do 7 to 10 parvo tests a day. On a good day it will be 2," Fields said.
Treatment for the virus can cost owners and shelters hundreds if not thousands of dollars. This could all be prevented by properly vaccinating your pet.
"It's very contagious between dogs that aren't vaccinated properly," Goldston said.
All it takes is one puppy coming in contact with the virus.
"It can be spread by people or by other animals just by getting the virus particles on you, even if it's in microscopic amounts," Goldston said.
If a dog comes in to the shelter while they're sick with parvo, just like Santana did, the sooner the staff can catch it, the better chance the dog has at surviving.
"He did really well for the treatment. He had a brother as well and they did really well for their treatments. I think they were only mildly affected," Goldston said.
The parvo vaccine typically costs about $10 to $20 at local clinics and pet hospitals.