Omaha animal rescue sees more parvovirus cases

Almost half of the year’s cases have come in the last two weeks.
An outbreak of a virus is leaving dogs in the metro area sick and in need of life-saving treatment.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Mona, Richie, Mina, and Banjo. They’re all parvovirus survivors.

Lorraine Carter is their foster mom. She’s been taking care of puppies battling parvo for the past six years.

“I was up about every three hours around the clock doing fluids and medications for them,” she said. “One of the puppies I had was walking across the kitchen floor and just keeled over. When I checked his gums and his teeth, they were the same color.”

Lately, Muddy Paws Rescue in Omaha has seen a big jump in parvovirus.

Almost half of the year’s cases have come in the last two weeks.

“In the past 14 days we’ve taken in 12 dogs that were parvo positive that required hospitalizations and life-saving measures,” said Isaiah Langworthy, Muddy Paws volunteer.

Parvo attacks a dog’s digestive system, causing vomiting and bloody diarrhea. It can be spread by sniffing, licking, or eating contaminated feces or even through shared water bowls. That’s why infected pups must be isolated from other vulnerable dogs.

“The photos that we see when we get them, I mean they’re skin and bones,” said Langworthy.

Puppies are most at risk since they require a series of shots before they’re fully protected.

“Three shots of the parvo-distemper vaccination and then an annual shot every year just like with rabies and other vaccinations.”

These shots are free in some clinics or range from $30-50 at the vet. Muddy Paws offers a free vaccine clinic every third Saturday of the month at the Helping Hand for Senior Plans on N. 30th Street.

That protects your puppy, but without it, you could pay a couple thousand for treatment if they contract the virus.

“In the past 14 days, we have spent $43,000 to save these 12 dogs’ lives.”

“You can pay $20 or $50 at an adoption thing and spend $3,000 getting them healthy, saving their life,” said Carter.

It takes about three weeks for the virus to shed if a dog survives. But after that’s done, these dogs, Mona, Richie, Mina, and Banjo, are available for adoption and ready to find their forever home.