A mask will not prevent your dog from contracting canine parvovirus. photo/Madison Park Veterinary Hospital
 

A mask will not prevent your dog from contracting canine parvovirus. photo/Madison Park Veterinary Hospital

 

In the last couple of weeks, we have had many clients calling frantically to ensure that their pets are current on the canine parvovirus vaccination. We know that there was notification of a community-wide canine parvovirus outbreak, and we understand your fear. 

We thought this an opportune time to address this topic, to let you know of the risks and how to help prevent your pet from catching this highly contagious illness. 

As most of you may already know, canine parvovirus is passed only from dog-to-dog. If you happen to be a cat owner, this disease is not something you need to worry about, so breathe easy. 

Canine parvovirus is primarily spread through exposure to contaminated feces but can also be transmitted through contact with food and water dishes, toys and bedding. This virus is incredibly resistant and can live in the soil for up to one year.

We recommend that. if you can locate the source of the infection, thoroughly clean the area with household bleach. This is the only disinfectant known to be able to kill this potentially lethal viral disease. 

The incubation period for this virus can last up to 14 days, so even if your dog appears healthy, it could have the virus. If your dog has not been vaccinated against canine parvovirus, get it done immediately, and make sure it receives all necessary boosters before letting them interact with other dogs. 

Even if they are current on the vaccine, it is a good rule of thumb for the time being to restrict your dog’s involvement with other pups and to avoid attendance at off-leash dog parks, as they can be prime transmitters of diseases. 

Also, if your dog goes to a doggy day care or a boarding facility, check with them to see if they have had any cases recently and what they are doing to monitor for outbreaks. 

If you think your pet may have this virus, we suggest that you promptly contact your veterinarian. Please note that while these are signs of canine parvovirus, they may also be an indication that there is another problem festering. Only a veterinarian can give you an absolute answer through examination and diagnostic testing. 

Major symptoms include:

•Lethargy;

•Significant weight loss;

•Fever;

•Vomiting;

•Dehydration;

•Foul smelling, bloody diarrhea.

 

MEGAN L. FOUCH is the office manager at the Madison Park Veterinary Hospital (www.madisonparkvet.com). To comment on this story, write to MPTimes@nwlink.com.