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Vets see rise in dog virus

OGDEN (AP) — Some veterinarians in northern Utah are seeing more cases of parvo, an illness that is spread by feces and can be fatal to dogs.

A veterinarian in Roy said he saw at least 30 cases last week, including two dead litters of puppies.

"It's the worst I've seen in many years," David Pearson said. "Not only have we seen more cases than in the recent past, but it appears to be much more virulent. The mortality has been a lot higher this year."

Canine parvovirus causes bloody feces and severe vomiting when it attacks a dog's intestines, said Pearson of Animal Care Roy Veterinary Hospital.

Dogs can die of dehydration if not treated quickly.

"The disease is spread through infected feces," said Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association. "So, if a dog is out, it can step in it. Small amounts can get on the fur, and if the dog sniffs it, it can inhale the virus."

The increase isn't being reported everywhere in northern Utah.

"We're doing pretty good in that area," said Donna Bower, an office manager at the Layton Veterinary Hospital.

Dogs can be immunized against parvo.

"Somehow, this disease has reared its ugly head," Pearson said. "It's hard for us to watch dogs and pet owners go through this."