Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control is urging dog owners to be proactive in keeping young puppies and adult dogs vaccinated against the highly contagious and deadly disease of parvovirus. Unvaccinated puppies that are 6 to 20 weeks of age are at the highest risk, but make no mistake; parvovirus can affect dogs of all ages.
The virus is spread by:
• direct dog-to-dog contact
• contact with contaminated dog feces
• contaminated environments
• people who have handled infectious objects or animals
• people who have walked through contaminated ground
The virus may be carried on a dog’s hair and feet, as well as on contaminated dog care items, a person’s shoes or clothing, and other objects. When a healthy dog licks the fecal material off their hair, feet, or anything that came in contact with infected feces, the dog acquires the disease.
Unlike other viruses, parvovirus is stable in the environment and is resistant to heat, detergents and alcohol. It can remain infectious for at least one year in the soil to continue infecting other dogs. If you’ve had an infected dog in your home or yard, do not bring home another dog or puppy until talking with your veterinarian.
If you see any change in the health or behavior of your dog, call your veterinarian right away. Warning signs can include a lack of appetite, depressed behavior, fever, severe vomiting and diarrhea.
Parvovirus is deadly, so take action to vaccinate your adult dogs on time each year, and be sure that your puppy receives more than one vaccination over a period of weeks.