In a chilling reminder of just how important it is to keep your dog’s vaccines up to date, 20 dogs in the Merrimack Valley area of Massachusetts have died recently from parvovirus, and officials expect the death toll to climb before the outbreak is contained.
The Boston Globe reports that the outbreak started three weeks ago, and that even if all dogs were vaccinated today, it would take seven days for immunity to build up enough to keep them from catching the disease if they were to come into contact with the virus.
Parvo is a very hardy virus, usually contracted by a dog coming into contact with an infected dog’s feces or vomit. However, because the virus is so hardy, it can live for weeks on solid surfaces like shared water bowls at a doggie daycare or park.
Symptoms of parvo include extreme lethargy (to the point where your dog can barely stand), vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog is unvaccinated (or even if you are current on vaccines), an immediate vet visit is required. Young dogs who have limited immunity die about half of the time when exposed to parvo. Treatment is mostly aimed at stopping the vomiting and diarrhea and restoring fluids.
If you live in or around Lowell, please keep your dog at home until this epidemic is over. We want your dog to be keeping you happy for a long, long time.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!