Gastro-bug hits Vail area dogs
GYPSUM — A Gypsum veterinarian office says that local dog owners should be aware of a gastrointestinal bug that is rapidly sickening dogs. The disease symptoms of vomiting and bloody watery diarrhea appear very suddenly and strongly.
“These pups are very sick. Often even just smelling food causes them to vomit” said Dr. Stephen Sheldon, of Gypsum Animal Hospital. “They also appear to be in a lot of pain for just a run of the mill GI bug.”
Sheldon believes the cases could be caused by a new strain of parvovirus, Parvo type 2, which a recent patient tested positive for. Pets who are current on their vaccines (the shot usually lasts three years) should be safe
The good news is that for most patients, symptoms abate almost as quickly as they begin.
“Fortunately, we have not lost any patients, and most dogs are only sick for 12-24 hours; but, our own nurses’ dog, Milly, has been sick for three days now’ said Sheldon.
SIMILAR CASES VALLEYWIDE
Sheldon reports that Gypsum Animal Hospital has seen over a dozen similar cases in the past week alone and has heard from pet owners valleywide via Facebook that many dogs are ill.
“We had one client who had all three of his dogs get sick three days in a row, like dominoes,” said Sheldon.
He said he has spoken to other pet care facilities in the Eagle and Gypsum area that have also been seeing dogs stricken with similar symptoms.
Symptoms occur suddenly and rapidly and include vomiting, bloody, watery diarrhea, reluctance to eat and severe abdominal pain. Making a diagnosis requires some expensive lab tests or samples of intestinal tissue, which likely will not occur unless a pet dies. Since most dogs have recovered so quickly, owners opted not to send off lab samples, so it took a few days for the office to pinpoint a particular virus.
WHEN TO SEE A VET
Sheldon advises dog owners to rest the GI track should symptoms occur. Pet owners should not offer any food or water the first 12 hours and then teaspoons of Gatorade every hour for the next 12 hours. Day 2 can start with white rice. If your pet is very ill, will not stop vomiting or is very dehydrated and does not want to move or get up, Sheldon recommends seeing your veterinarian immediately.
“I also think it is a good idea to avoid areas where dogs get together for a few days” said Sheldon. “We don’t want to sound any panic buttons, but this has hit hard and fast.”
Vail Mountain opens Nov. 15, about a week earlier than normal. But that earlier opening will be out of Vail Village, not Lionshead.