A puppy has died in Colwood after succumbing to canine parvovirus.
The dog died Saturday, only days after veterinarians in Sooke issued a warning to dog owners to be vigilant after an outbreak there had already killed at least eight animals.
“We haven’t seen any other cases since that time but we are aware of the potential of other cases,” said Dr. Laura Jenkins of the Glenview Animal Hospital, where the sick puppy succumbed to the illness.
Parvovirus is a life threatening disease that effects the intestinal tract and bone marrow (and sometimes other organs) caused by one of a number of strains of the virus.
And although a vaccine for the illness is available and typically administered as part of the regular series of vaccinations, puppies tend to be particularly vulnerable as they are not immune to the disease until at least a week after their second vaccination. Dogs with unknown vaccination histories can also be vulnerable to the disease and can spread the illness to other canines.
While a vaccinated dog may not become ill with the virus, it does not prevent them from being a carrier.
The virus is spread through contact with another dog’s feces and, even if the feces are no longer present, the virus may still be in the environment for months or even years after being deposited. With that in mind, dog owners are urged by local veterinarians to consider all environments as being possible parvovirus contaminated areas and to keep puppies safely at home until they are fully vaccinated.
“We recommend that until they have a couple of vaccinations, you should limit your puppy’s contact with other dogs with an uncertain vaccination history. I won’t say that you shouldn’t put them into contact with other dogs, because socialization for puppies is also important, but certainly you should have the vaccinations started before going ahead with that,” Jenkins said.
Some strains of the canine parvovirus can also infect cats and are often misnamed felone distemper.
It should also be noted that, even if you leave your puppy home and take a vaccinated dog to a public place where the virus may be present, they can easily carry the virus back to the unvaccinated puppy at home.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing this disease claim far too many dogs. People have to properly vaccinate their animals and, until those vaccinations are done, they should not be taking their dogs to areas where they may contract the illness,” Jenkins said.
one of a number of strains of parvovirus. Currently, four main strains of infectious parvovirus have been identified: CPV-2 (the original virus) and its newer strains CPV-2a, CPV-2b and CPV-2c.