BluePearl Pet Hospital sees alarming increase in parvovirus cases amid COVID-19

“As invaluable sources of emotional support as well as sentinels and potential vectors of infectious disease, it is essential that pets receive all preventive vaccines and that owners adhere to the schedule requirements for those vaccines,” said Dr. James Barr, Chief Medical Officer.

BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital has observed an alarming increase in the number of parvovirus cases and hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis of data from BluePearl’s more than 90 pet hospitals showed a 70% increase in the number of parvovirus cases compared to emergencies in 2020 compared to the same periods over the past five years ( 2015 to 2019).

Parvovirus, or parvo, is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease that attacks the gastrointestinal tract of infected dogs. While puppies are at the greatest risk of contracting parvo, any unvaccinated or partially vaccinated dog can contract the disease through dog-to-dog contact and through contact with contaminated feces, environments, or people. If left untreated, most parvo deaths occur within 48 to 72 hours. However, survival rates can approach 90% with proper treatment.

“We are in the very early stages of analyzing this data; investigate possible causes for the increase and determine the implications for this disease and other preventable pet diseases, ”noted James Barr, DVM, DACVECC, Chief Medical Officer, BluePearl Pet Hospital. “Parvo outbreaks pose a serious threat to our canine friends, but skipping routine vaccinations could also put human health at risk due to the possibility of exposure to rabies. As invaluable sources of emotional support as well as sentinels and potential vectors of infectious disease, it is essential that pets receive all preventive vaccines and that owners adhere to the schedule requirements for those vaccines. ”

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have turned to animals for their companionship. This resulted in an important welcome and adoption of refuge animals. Some of these refuge animals may have been released without completing their vaccination series. Stay-at-home orders also prompted people to spend more time outdoors, which may have increased environmental exposure (eg, dog parks). Other possible causes for the rise include disruptions in the timing or prevention of puppies receiving a full series of vaccines, resulting in incomplete immunity and financial hardship, such as loss of employment, preventing or delaying owners from requesting treatments. routine vaccinations.

“If the United States continues to see COVID-19 cases on the rise or a second wave, it could exacerbate these trends and further harm our pets,” said Lenore Bacek, DVM, MS, DACVECC, program manager clinics, BluePearl Pet Hospital. “To avoid a further increase and to prevent it from happening again, veterinary hospitals and related businesses must continue to be recognized as essential services. Owners should also be careful not to bring their dogs or puppies into dog parks or other high traffic areas until they are fully vaccinated. By digging deeper into this data, we hope to better understand the complexities of this parvovirus outbreak, as well as shed light on the value that veterinary medicine brings to public health. ”

While dogs and puppies may start showing signs of parvovirus between three and ten days after exposure, they are often contagious before symptoms are visible. If you suspect your pet has parvovirus, immediately isolate your pet and contact your primary care veterinarian.

About BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital

Founded in 1996, BluePearl is today one of the largest specialty and emergency veterinary practices in the United States. BluePearl has more than 90 hospitals in 26 states that together employ more than 5,900 associates, including more than 1,160 veterinarians, more than 1,650 veterinary technicians and more than 3,000 other professionals. Each year, our compassionate teams provide high-quality care to over one million pets and their families. BluePearl clinicians are also participating in clinical studies to discover new treatments and procedures that improve the health of pets. As a member of the Mars Veterinary Health family of brands, BluePearl is committed to achieving its goal – A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS® – because pets create a better world for us. Learn more abouthttps://bluepearlvet.com/.

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