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May 10, 2013 3:03 PM by Erika Flores

4th Ave. merchants disinfect streets to keep dog virus away

TUCSON - A highly contagious virus is hurting dogs in Pima County.

Several dogs have come down with the Canine Parvovirus.

It's spreading fast and now, merchants along Fourth Avenue are taking precautions to protect customers and their pets.

Rachel Bender brings her dog Indio to 4th Avenue for a walk nearly every day.

It never occurred to her that his curiosity could get him in trouble.

"He's a young pup and I want him to stay healthy," said Bender.

But every move of his paw and every sniff of his nose could get him infected.

"That is concerning," said Bender.

Just this week, dogs have been infected by Canine Parvovirus.

In some cases, it's led to their death.

One of those infected is still in the hospital.

"They had walked around 4th avenue," said Lizzie Mead, a business owner on 4th Avenue.

Mead took it upon herself to take the dog named "Spoiled Rotten" to the hospital.

"We just couldn't let the dog die because he was perhaps savable," said Mead.

The Parvovirus causes depression, vomiting, diarrhea and since dehydration happens fast, it's deadly.

"You give fluids, you give antibiotics, you make sure they're able to eat and hold down food and take down water and make sure they're weight is not dropping," said Michael Daniel, a Vet's technical assistant.

The hospital that is treating "Spoiled Rotten" is doing just that.

They said dogs can get the virus from coming in contact with an infected dog's fecal matter, or through their paws from just roaming in an area that once had infected feces.

It's the reason why 4th Avenue merchants are doing everything possible to disinfect the area to make sure it is Parvovirus free giving dog owners like Bender peace of mind.

"I mean it's tough because it's hard to really completely prevent anything in dogs or people, so it's concerning, but I can only do my best and get him his vaccines and try and make sure he's in a clean environment," said Bender.

According to veterinarians, it is Parvovirus season.

Hospitals see more cases during spring and summer time when weather is nice and dog owners are more likely to be outdoors with their dogs.

They said the best way to prevent your dog from getting the virus is to keep your puppy indoors until the pup gets all his or her vaccinations.

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