Providence Animal Control alerts residents of reported cases of Parvovirus in Providence

Providence, RI – Providence Animal Control is alerting dog owners in the City of an unusually high number of cases of canine Parvovirus, or «Parvo», being reported in Providence and also to the State Veterinarian’s office. Canine Parvovirus is required to be reported to the State Veterinarian if the dog originated in an animal shelter, municipal pound, boarding kennel, rescue, or pet shop. While the virus is considered to be constantly present in the environment, the high number of recently reported cases suggests that there is more of it spreading than usual in the Providence area.
 
In early July the outbreaks were reported only in the Wanskuck area of the City, but now additional incoming reports show that the infection is being detected in various other neighborhoods of Providence. In 2010 there was an outbreak of Parvo in the City and approximately 350-400 dogs were either treated or died as a result of this virus.
 
Parvovirus can cause severe disease in dogs that are not immune to the virus. Puppies and dogs that have not been properly vaccinated are at the greatest risk. Immunity can come from vaccination or from surviving a natural exposure. The symptoms of Parvovirus infection in dogs are related to the intestinal system. Usually dogs will vomit and have diarrhea, sometimes with blood in it. The diarrhea and vomiting can be severe and result in dehydration and death. Dogs with Parvovirus infection can also develop other infections because the virus can weaken their immune system. Sick dogs should be immediately brought to a veterinarian for appropriate treatment. Owners should contact the veterinarian before transporting the animal to the medical facility to ensure the staff is prepared for the situation upon the dog’s arrival.
 
The virus can be spread easily through feet, shoes, or other objects. Dogs typically contract the virus by ingesting it. The virus can live for a long time in the environment, but using household bleach as a disinfectant can kill the virus. Some breeds such as Pit-bulls, Rottweiler’s, and Labrador Retrievers are more susceptible to infection. Cats cannot contract canine Parvovirus. Treatment can be very intensive, expensive and may not always be successful, so vaccination is the best strategy.
 
We advise all dog owners to consult with their veterinarian to ensure that their dogs are currently vaccinated to minimize the risk of this potentially deadly disease. Veterinarians reporting confirmed positive cases of the virus should contact Dr. Scott Marshall in DEM’s Division of Agriculture at (401) 222-4700 ext. 4503. Please remember: * Infected dogs can shed tremendous amounts of virus, which in turn can infect other dogs * The virus does not infect people * The best protection against Parvovirus is to make sure your dog is properly vaccinated