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Parvovirus outbreak kills over a dozen dogs

Parvovirus is extremely dangerous for small puppies
Parvovirus is extremely dangerous for small puppies
Morguefile / TheresaOtero

A highly contagious virus has surfaced in Lowell, Massachusetts and is spreading. According to a news report on August 20, 2014, by Turn to Ten News, 15 dogs have recently died from the Parvovirus in Lowell. It is believed that the virus was spread to Allenstown N.H. when potential buyers went to a breeder to look at dogs. One of the breeder’s pups also died.

Parvo is a very dangerous and, often times, fatal disease if not caught quickly. It will appear in either of two different forms. Intestinal Parvo is the most common and will cause severe dehydration, vomiting, bloody stools and weight loss.

A rarer form of Parvo attacks the heart muscles of new born puppies up to 6 months of age. Most of these infected puppies will die. Early vaccinating may help to prevent the puppies from getting Parvo or may lessen the effect is has.

According to PetMD, there is no cure for Parvovirus but vets can treat the symptoms and keep the dog hospitalized if necessary. It is necessary to stop the vomiting and diarrhea and keep the dog hydrated. Sometimes an IV is administered. If the dog survives, he will still be contagious for up to two months.

Parvo weakens the dog’s immune system so you will have to take great care to keep him from being exposed to other illnesses and diseases for the rest of his life and keep him as healthy as possible. A good quality diet and exercise will help with this.

Dogs can be exposed to the virus in a number of different ways: Direct contact with an infected dog, being exposed to infected dog feces by sniffing another dog’s stool, or even by someone stepping in contaminated stool or vomit and spreading it into their home.

If a dog that is infected comes into your yard and either vomits or leaves a stool deposit, the virus can remain in your yard for nearly a year. Nothing seems to actually kill the virus, including cold weather, so be careful when removing any feces from your yard that you know your dog didn’t leave behind.

Many years ago, most dogs did not survive the Parvovirus and many were “put down” as soon as they were suspected to have it. With the help of today’s medicine and vets perhaps more will survive and continue to lead a quality life. If you suspect your dog has been exposed, or if you hear that a neighbor’s dog has become infected, see your vet immediately.