Six puppies test positive for Parvovirus in Boulder
Animal Control offers prevention tips
The Boulder Police Department’s Animal Control Unit is notifying dog owners about potential Parvovirus (also called Parvo) among some dogs in the city.
At least six puppies have tested positive for the virus, and one has died. The others are undergoing veterinary treatment. The infected dogs were in the area of 9th and Canyon, near the library and municipal building.
Boulder’s Animal Control Unit says vaccinated dogs are at a very low risk of contracting the disease. If your dog is not current on vaccinations, there is a higher risk of exposure. Talk to your veterinarian if you have concerns or questions about whether your pet is current on shots.
Parvovirus is a serious viral disease. It is extremely contagious and the risk of exposure is a year-round issue. Parvo is most often an intestinal disease, but the virus can also infect the heart muscles. Sometimes an infected dog doesn’t show any symptoms of the virus, although it generally presents itself quickly (sometimes as soon as 12 hours) after a dog has been exposed.
Signs of intestinal Parvo include:
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea (usually bloody and foul-smelling
- Intussusception– this is when a section of the animal’s intestinal tract telescopes into itself. This is an emergency which requires immediate veterinary attention.
There is no cure for Parvovirus. Veterinarians can give fluids orally if the infection is mild, or subcutaneously (under the skin) if dehydration is more extreme. Anti-vomiting medications, antibiotics and blood/plasma transfusions are also used in treatment.
Parvo is spread by dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces. People can carry the virus on their hands and clothes if they pet an infected dog or touch the leash or collar of an infected dog. The virus can also be carried on the bottoms of shoes if a person steps on feces or contaminated dirt, and can be transmitted from shoes to homes, workplaces and other areas.
The virus can remain “live” for up to seven months, so it’s important to properly disinfect areas which may have been exposed to the virus. Household bleach is the best disinfectant for surfaces like countertops and floors, or the bottoms of shoes. The dilution formula is one part bleach to 30 parts water. (Be careful with fabrics). Never, ever use the bleach solution on an animal. For people who are sensitive to the smell of bleach, there are commercially-available Parvovirus disinfectants which don’t smell as strong.
The best way to prevent your dog from becoming infected with Parvovirus is to vaccinate against the disease. Talk to your veterinarian if you have questions or need recommendations for your pet.