LOWELL (CBS) — A highly contagious viral disease has killed at least 15 dogs in Lowell. Lowell Animal Control Officer Darlene Wood told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 there have been 15 confirmed cases of the canine parvovirus in the past two weeks. In each case the dog has died.
“We’re asking dog owners to check and see if their dogs have updated vaccinations or have been vaccinated for the parvovirus, and if they have not, to certainly go to a veterinarian and get that done,” Wood said Tuesday.
She told WBZ there have also been cases of the virus in the Berkshires, Worcester County and on the North Shore. “It’s transmitted through the feces and the vomit of a dog that already has the disease. Your dog would see such things as his eating might be off. He’d be lethargic, vomiting a lot, bloody diarrhea. It has a very distinct smell,” Wood said. “Because it’s so highly contagious, the viral disease can actually live on inanimate objects for months.”
Wood said if you suspect your dog may have the virus, don’t take him or her to a public area, and get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Source - http://boston.cbslocal.com/2014/08/19/high-contagious-parvovirus-kills-15-dogs-in-lowell/
Photo - Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images/CBS
PetsWebMD - Canine parvovirus is an acute, highly contagious disease of dogs that was first described in the early 1970s. The virus has a tendency to attack rapidly reproducing cells, such as those lining the gastrointestinal tract.
The virus is shed in large amounts in the stools of acutely infected dogs for up to several weeks following infection. The disease is transmitted by oral contact with infected feces. Parvo can be carried on the dog’s hair and feet, as well as on contaminated crates, shoes, and other objects. When the dog licks the fecal material off hair, feet, or anything that came in contact with infected feces, he acquires the disease.
Parvo affects dogs of all ages, but most cases occur in puppies 6 to 20 weeks of age. Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers appear to acquire the infection more readily and experience more severe symptoms. The reason for lower resistance in these breeds is unknown.
Following an incubation period that averages four to five days, the acute illness begins with depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some dog have no fever, while others have high fever (up to 106°F, 41.1°C). Pups with severe abdominal pain exhibit a tucked-up abdomen. Diarrhea is profuse and contains mucus and/or blood. Dehydration develops rapidly.
Heart muscle involvement in neonatal puppies used to be common, but is now quite rare. This is because routine vaccination of brood bitches two to four weeks before breeding boosts maternal antibody levels and provides better protection for puppies.
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Treatment: Dogs with this disease require intensive veterinary management. In all but the most mild cases, hospitalization is essential to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Intravenous fluids and medications to control vomiting and diarrhea are often required. More severe cases may require blood plasma transfusions and other intensive care.
Puppies and dogs should not eat or drink until the vomiting has stopped. but require fluid support during that time. This can take three to five days. Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent septicemia and other bacterial complications, which are the usual cause of death.
The outcome depends upon the virulence of the specific strain of parvovirus, the age and immune status of the dog, and how quickly the treatment is started. Most pups who are under good veterinary care recover without complications.
Prevention: Thoroughly clean and disinfect the quarters of infected animals. Parvo is an extremely hardy virus that resists most household cleaners and survives on the premises for months. The most effective disinfectant is household bleach in a 1:32 dilution. The bleach must be left on the contaminated surface for 20 minutes before being rinsed.