COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Lurking in backyards and other environments for months, the Parvovirus has been killing dogs across Muscogee County.
Animal experts say local puppy owners should be extra cautious of the sickness as cases are popping up lately. It attacks a dog's intestinal tract in the worst way, causing diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
Andrew Archer and his girlfriend Kimberly will be new parents in a few months, but as they prepare to welcome a baby boy to this world, they knew one other thing was missing... man's best friend to also welcome him when he arrives.
"When you walk through the door, the first thing you want to see is that little guy or that little girl jumping up and trying to lick you," Archer said.
However, once they brought their second dog Jax home from a local animal rescue shelter, they knew something was wrong.
"Right off the bat it had the runs, and it was crying all the time and it was kind of heartbreaking," Archer said.
Jax was eventually diagnosed by a third party vet with the Parvovirus, and soon after the couple's other puppy Kaley fell ill.
"It's the most contagious thing a dog can get," Archer said.
Administrators at the Animal Ark Rescue in Columbus say they take in hundreds of pets like a dog named Harper and her nine pups, who were set to be euthanized this morning before they were rescued.
Volunteers explain that if they find a sick puppy they will isolate it, treat it, and clean the treatment area to prevent the spread.
The treatment has already cost Archer and his girlfriend hundreds of dollars, and as both dogs remain at the veterinarian's office, that cost is expected to rise. It's a hefty price tag at an expensive time in their lives.
"We just bought a house two weeks ago, and we have a baby coming in a couple months," Archer said, "We love those little guys so we're going to do all we can do."
If you want to get involved, the couple is accepting
for the treatment, and Animal Ark Rescue welcomes volunteers anytime.