Parvovirus Kills Otsego Co. Family’s 4 Dogs; Experts Stress Importance of Vaccinations

An Otsego County family is mourning the loss of their four dogs, they were all killed by the canine parvovirus.

For unvaccinated dogs the virus is almost always deadly.

Dogs contract it by eating fecal matter but it can be prevented.

“About two weeks ago I brought my two adult dogs. We left and about a week later my dogs started getting really sick and progressively got worse,” Gaylord Resident Michael Richison, explained.

It was a trip to the dog park that turned deadly for Michael Richison’s four dogs.

One of his dogs contracted parvo and later spread it to the other family dogs.

It’s been a devastating few weeks for him and his family.

“They always followed me around, they were like my kids, they’d follow me around sleep with me right next to me, they’d never leave my side,” Richison, added.

Michael’s dogs weren’t fully vaccinated for the virus.

Veterinarian Susan Hall says consistent vaccination would have prevented this tragedy.

“If an animal is properly vaccinated the chances of them getting parvovirus, especially them dying from it is very, very minimum,” Dr. Hall, said.

Dr. Hall says parvo can be contracted anywhere.

“You can pick it up anywhere, it can be anywhere, you can walk through somebody’s yard and pick it up,” Dr. Hall, added.

Otsego County Animal Control Officer Melissa FitzGerald says this shouldn’t deter anyone from using the dog park.

“The dog park is very beneficial if you live in town where maybe your dog doesn’t have a lot of room to run it’s a great place. There’s always risks in whatever you do, but if your dog is vaccinated and if your dog is friendly,” FitzGerald, said.

“Follow the rules it will be a happy experience,” FitzGerald, added.

In this tough time, Michael wants this to be lesson for all dog owners.

“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else’s dogs. I want to let people in the community know, don’t bring their dogs to the dog park if they are not fully vaccinated,” Michael, said.

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