Spence and White vet hospital caring for parvo outbreak puppies

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:22 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:32 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Nicholas’ Pet Haven is closed for two weeks because of the recent parvovirus outbreak affecting 11 puppies.

Spence and White Veterinary Hospital, located next door, has taken in the puppies and is isolating them in their critical care facility.

Owner of Spence and White Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Gary Spence says he has not seen an outbreak like this in six years in his hospital.

“It’s what’s known as a vehicular transfer virus,” says Dr. Spence.

Parvovirus is a contagious disease that more commonly affects puppies than adult dogs. Dr. Spence says the virus used to be cat distemper but changed species in the 1980′s, coming from South America to the U.S.

According to Dr. Spence, the virus spreads to the gastrointestinal tract of the dog.

“You’ve got your intestinal wall, but then you’ve got thousands and thousands of villi that line your intestinal wall where all your absorption takes place. And as the parvovirus replicates, the tips of the villi rupture, and each of those tips has a vessel in it that sits there and just spurts blood and they bleed to death.”

The best method of prevention is to get your puppies vaccinated. The Spence and White Vet Hospital gives puppies four parvo shots until they turn six weeks old, and then will give it to them yearly.

Dr. Spence stresses the importance of getting the vaccine in America.

“Our viruses that we’ve got here are a lot more severe. The exposure to animal population is a lot more severe. The spread of disease is a lot more severe.” says Dr. Spence.

Unfortunately, two puppies have passed away from the outbreak. But, the hospital has seen great improvement among the other nine.

Dr. Spence says, “But now it looks like we’ve turned the corner. The puppies that we’ve got now are all starting to eat again.”

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