Uptick in deadly dog virus reported

Posted: April 06, 2012

The Pennsylvania SPCA is urging dogs owners to have their pets vaccinated against Canine Parvovirus (CPV) after an early uptick in the cases of the often-fatal disease.

"Parvo is one of the most deadly viral illnesses in our canine population," said Dr. Lisa Germanis, a staff veterinarian on at the PSPCA, said in a statement. "In the past two weeks, we've seen more than 20 cases of parvo in our veterinary clinic. Typically we don't begin to see this many cases until later in the spring and summer."

Dogs of all ages can contract parvo, but puppies are more severely affected, Germanis said. The virus attacks the dog's intestinal tract, white blood cells and heart.

CPV can live in the environment for over a year and is highly contagious.

Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting and severe, often bloody foul-smelling diarrhea.

You should take your dog to a vet as soon as possible if you note these symptoms, Germanis said.

The Pennsylvania SPCA offers a low-cost walk-in vaccination clinics from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Wednesday and the first and third Saturdays of every month at its facility at 350 E. Erie Avenue in Philadelphia. No appointments are necessary.

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