According to local veterinary clinics and animal welfare experts, Eastern Iowa is currently experiencing an outbreak of Canine Parvovirus (CPV) in both stray and owned dogs. The Cedar Valley Humane Society has also experienced cases of CPV from local stray and owner-surrendered dogs in our shelter. CVHS staff are responding by temporarily closing the shelter now through October 15th to implement containment and disinfecting protocols. Veterinarians are urging dog owners to be aware of the threats associated with CPV.
WHAT IS CANINE PARVOVIRUS?
CPV is a highly contagious, life-threatening, viral disease of dogs that commonly causes gastrointestinal illness in puppies. The disease most often strikes puppies between six and 20 weeks old, but older animals with compromised immune systems are sometimes also affected.
Symptoms often associated with CPV include lethargy, depression, and loss or lack of appetite, followed by a sudden onset of high fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog is experiencing bouts of bloody diarrhea and/or vomiting, it is extremely important to consult a veterinarian immediately.
CPV is a viral infection and can only be treated by supportive care and management of symptoms. Treatment options will vary. A hospital stay is often necessary so that the dog can receive intravenous fluids and nutrients to replace those lost in vomiting and diarrhea. After infecting an animal, the virus goes through an incubation period of three day to multiple weeks before the onset of first symptoms in the animal. This can cause problems with diagnosing the disease early in dogs.
It is important for dog owners to be proactive and take steps to protect their pets. Vaccinations against parvo are usually part of your dog’s scheduled veterinary shots. It is vital for their safety to keep up to date with these ongoing vaccinations. Please take some time to check your pets’ vaccine records to make sure your dogs are up to date with the Canine Distemper/Parvo/Bordetella vaccine. The abbreviation for this combination vaccine is frequently written as “DHPPV,” “DHPP,” “DA2PP,” or “DA2PPV” on your pet’s health records.
Parvovirus is extraordinarily hardy and capable of surviving for months outside an animal and is resistant to most household cleaning products. Infected dogs are very contagious and can contaminate any area they visit. Along with keeping your pet up-to-date on their vaccinations, it is wise to keep your dogs away from areas such as dog parks, stranger’s lawns, or homes with other animals. It is safer to keep your dog isolated during an outbreak due to the highly contagious nature of the virus.
This strain of parvo is not only affecting puppies, but has also affected some adult dogs. Similar outbreaks have been seen in Ottumwa, Council Bluffs, and other cities throughout Iowa this summer and fall.
CEDAR VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY RESPONSE:
CVHS is closed now through October 15th to respond most effectively and to provide the best life-saving care. The cases of CPV that CVHS experienced in the shelter were kept isolated from and had no cross contact with our staff and volunteers. We are doing everything we can to ensure all affected animals receive live-saving treatment.
Isolated cases of parvo hit shelters from time to time, but the number of cases we have seen (and heard about from our veterinarian partners and at other rescues) is highly unusual. Because of that and other factors, we believe there that there is currently an outbreak of parvo occurring in Cedar Rapids area.
We are advising that dogs that are not vaccinated, recently vaccinated, are young, are seniors, or have otherwise potentially compromised immune systems be kept away from public places where a large number of dogs visit (like dog parks and pet stores) for at least the next month. We also recommend that pet owners work to ensure any unvaccinated animals are brought up to date as soon as possible.
During the time we are closed, we will be deep cleaning, sanitizing, and treating our building with chemicals that will hopefully remove any trace of the virus in our building. We are also working to contact all adopters of dogs that may have been in our building in the weeks surrounding any potential internal incubation period.
For at least this week, we will also not be able to take in owner surrenders. Our ultimate goal is to ensure no additional animals are affected.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1. Foster: We need fosters that have no other pets and do not encounter other pets. These foster homes must commit to not having other dogs (especially puppies) in or near their home for at least one year after the dogs leave their home. They will likely need to be in foster care for a month, possibly longer. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in fostering.
2. Donate: Caring for dogs with parvovirus typically requires round-the-clock veterinarian care. This is obviously very expensive. We are committed to doing what we can to save these dogs, so please donate if you are able.
3. Vaccinate: Vaccinate your pets and do not take your young, old, or unvaccinated pets into public areas.