A deadly canine virus explodes

It is not a risk for humans. But it can kill your dog. And it’s exploding right now.

Parvovirus is highly contagious and if left untreated is fatal to dogs in 90% of cases.

Last year New Jersey saw an increase in cases and if New York is any indication, that’s bad news for New Jersey and, frankly, the rest of the country.

The New York Post reports 25 cases of parvo so far this spring compared to just 5 last year. The numbers have veterinarians alarmed. Now, there is good news and bad news in all of this.

The good news is that there is a vaccine for parvovirus. The bad news is that your dog can still get it even with the vaccination. For what? Because parvovirus, like our human flu, has different strains and is constantly changing.

Puppies that are vaccinated may have an immune response from their mother’s milk which may interfere with the effectiveness of the parvo vaccine.


Janie Airey

So even if your dog is vaccinated, with a 90% mortality rate when left untreated, you really need to be careful about that.

Here are the signs that your dog may have parvovirus.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • bloody diarrhea

It can happen to dogs of any age, but the younger a dog the more susceptible they are to parvo. It spreads from dog to dog, but if your dog is never around other dogs, don’t assume he’s safe. A person can wear it without developing illness and then give it to their own dog. Additionally, this virus can linger on surfaces for literally weeks. Disinfecting surfaces your dog comes into contact with can help.

chocolate labrador outdoors

Leslie Banks

Why is it suddenly rising? Scientists say the warm winter we just experienced did not help kill existing parvovirus as a cold winter normally would each year. It is in the spring that it bounces back, so with a mild winter it comes back strong.

If you see any signs that your dog may have parvo, take him to a veterinarian immediately. Untreated parvovirus can kill in 48 to 72 hours.

As if all of that wasn’t enough to have you worried about your fur baby, here are a few things to know. A brief list of seven human foods you may not know are lethal to dogs. I suggest this not to be alarmist but to be helpful since we are already talking about protecting your pet.

Read this list and I bet you will find some of them surprising. I know I did.

Seven human foods that can kill your dog


Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

Dennis Malloy / Townsquare Media

Avocados contain a toxin called persin. To a human, it’s harmless, but to a dog, it can cause fluid to build up in their lungs, depriving them of oxygen and potentially killing them. Persin is in every part of an avocado, so don’t give it to them.

Anything that contains caffeine

Hot coffee on wooden table


Coffee, soda, tea, anything with caffeine can be bad news for your pooch. Caffeine makes a dog’s heart beat faster, and 2-4 hours after consuming caffeine, dogs may experience excessive thirst, loss of bladder control, vomiting, and diarrhea. Enough caffeine and they will die.

Grapes and raisins

Vines at sunset in autumn harvest. Toned


Believe it or not, grapes and raisins are horribly toxic to dogs. They cause rapid kidney failure and can be fatal even in small amounts.


Xylitol is a sugar alcohol found in some candies, some baked goods, toothpaste, and chewing gum. If your dog goes for it, after thirty minutes his blood sugar can drop significantly and he can suffer from vomiting, coma, seizures and death.


Not good for humans but potentially deadly for dogs in sufficient amounts. Salt can cause neurological disorders, cerebral edema, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and convulsions. In extreme cases, salt can be fatal to a dog.


(Photo: Towfiqu Barbhuiya, Unsplash)

(Photo: Towfiqu Barbhuiya, Unsplash)

This one we all know. We’ve been hearing it for years. Chocolate can kill a dog. This is because it not only contains caffeine but also theobromine. Both are very difficult for dogs to metabolize. They can cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.

Ultimately, depending on how much chocolate they eat, it can cause heart attacks, internal bleeding, and death. Did you know that the type of chocolate matters too? The worst for dogs is dark, unsweetened chocolate.


Tilted glass of beer


Some may think it’s fun to share some of their beer or other alcohol with their furry best friend, but you’re doing them a disservice. Alcohol, even in small amounts, can make a dog sick, but in larger amounts it can lead to lung failure, seizures and death.

Check out these 50 fascinating facts about dogs:

RANKED: Here are the 63 smartest dog breeds

Is the breed of your trusty pup on the list? Read on to see if you’ll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog’s intellectual prowess the next time you walk your fur baby. Don’t worry: Even if your dog’s breed isn’t on the list, it doesn’t mean he’s not a good boy – some traits just can’t be measured.

The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

You can now listen to Deminski & Doyle — On demand! Listen to New Jersey’s favorite radio show every day of the week. Download the Deminski & Doyle show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen now.

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