The local veterinarian is urging dog owners to keep a close eye on their pets as there have been a few cases of Canine Parvovirus in the area. An extremely contagious virus, puppies younger than a few months and those that have not been vaccinated are most risk, though any dog can ultimately become ill from the virus.
Dogs that have fallen ill are said to have “parvo.”
The virus attacks the gastrointenstinal tracts and is spread through direct contact with other dogs, the surrounding environment or people.
A few cases were brought to the attention of Candle Creek Veterinary Services, who urged the owners to take the pets to a clinic in Kamloops where they could be treated. The cases so far are out of Blackpool.
“There’s no way to get away from it, unless you really isolate your dog in your own house,” said Linda Ludbrook of Candle Creek Veterinary Services.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), parvo is resistant to heat and cold, humidty and drying and survives in the environment for long periods of time. It can contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water, hands and clothing of the people who come into contact with a infected dog, as well as the dog’s belogings, such as bowls, collars and leashes.
Telltale signs of the virus include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. If these signs are noticed, it is highly recommended to get the animal to a veterinary clinic where they can be monitored and given an IV and antibiotics. Most deaths occur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms. Catching it in its early stages gives the pup the best chance at suvival.
“They get really dehydrated quickly because of the vomiting and diarrhea,” said Ludbrook. “It can go downhill quickly if not treated.”
She added when purchasing a dog from a breeder, or a shelter, to request vaccination certification. Don’t just take someone’s word that the puppies have had their shots.
The vaccine is given to the puppy in a series of shots and can be given as early as eight weeks. The first shot will be given and then a second booster shot three weeks to a month later. For younger puppies, a third is also recommended.
According to the AMVA, the isolation of an infected dog is necessary to stop the spread of the virus. Because it is highly contagious and not easily killed, proper cleaning and disinfection of any contaminated areas is also essential in controlling the spread. For more information, go to avma.org or reach out to your veterinarian.
“Before we have a canine pandemic, it’s best just to educate people and say, ‘Get your dog vaccinated,’” said Ludbrook.