Parvovirus cases seem to be on the rise in the Phoenix area

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Cases of Parvo are on the rise in Laveen. 13 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Cases of Parvo are on the rise in Laveen. 13 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Dog parks are popular with dog owners. 13 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Dog parks are popular with dog owners. 13 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
LAVEEN, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A warning to dog owners: A deadly virus seems to be on the rise. 

Veterinarians in Laveen say they're seeing more parvovirus cases. 

Parvo is transmitted through feces, so dogs can pick it up at parks, while out on a walk, even from people's clothes. 

"People can be out and about and pick it up and bring it home on their clothing, their shoes. If they've had dogs that have been sick in the past, or even moved into a house that had a sick dog in the past, they can get it that way as well," said Dr. Amber Naig, with Laveen Veterinary Center

Dr. Naig says she's recently seen an increase in cases at her office. She had another infected dog brought in today. It's being kept in isolation. 

"Decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea," Naig said. "These guys get pretty sick."

She says other Valley vets are noticing the same thing. 

Parvo is extremely contagious and deadly about 50 percent of the time. In colder climates, freezing winter weather kills the virus. But here in Arizona, it can live on surfaces for a year.  

The recent uptick is worrying dog owners. 

"We really like to take our dogs out to the park. When you're around so many other dogs, you don't know if the other dogs are vaccinated, so the only thing we can do is make sure our dogs are safe," said Kim Brussow, who brings her two dogs to the Cesar Chavez Dog Park in Laveen. 

The only way to stop the spread is to make sure your dog is up to date on all its shots, picking up after your dog and wiping down contaminated surfaces with bleach. 

"I don't know how anyone could not clean up behind their dog. Why have it if you're not going to clean up behind it?" said dog owner Isaiah Spencer. 

The rescue group Helping Hands for Homeless Hounds says they've heard of cases "too numerous to count" in the last three to four weeks.

One of their adopted dogs died Monday evening. 

Dr. Naig expects she'll see even more cases before the end of fall. 

"It varies from season to season but maybe this is the start of one of our worst seasons," said Naig.  

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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