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Parvovirus at Shelter

Loudoun County Animal Care and Control has recently experienced three cases of canine parvovirus in stray dogs at the Animal Shelter, according to a press release issued by the shelter.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious and serious disease that attacks the gastrointestinal tract of puppies and dogs. It is caused by a virus and can easily spread from one dog to another. It cannot be spread to humans or cats. Puppies under 4 months of age are more susceptible to parvovirus. Vaccination against parvovirus is usually done around 4 months of age and adult dogs whose vaccines are current have little to no risk of contracting the virus.

The three cases of parvovirus at the Animal Shelter have occurred in puppies that came in as strays over the past four weeks. After a thorough review of their cases, Dr. Valerie Campbell of Blue Ridge Veterinary Associates has concluded that the puppies were not infected at the shelter but rather contracted the virus while out in the community.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, canine parvovirus causes lethargy; loss of appetite; fever; vomiting; and severe, often bloody, diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration and most deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours following onset of clinical signs. If your puppy or dog shows any of these signs, you should contact your veterinarian promptly.

Loudoun County Animal Care Control would like to remind citizens to take care when they encounter dogs or puppies running loose in the community. If you do find a stray dog, bring it directly to the Animal Shelter in Waterford or contact Loudoun County Animal Control at 703-777- 0406.

Citizens whose dogs or puppies are not up to date on their parvovirus vaccines should be especially cautious when encountering stray dogs. The virus can attach itself to clothing and shoes, and people who encounter stray dogs should take precaution before they handle their own pets. Dogs should not be allowed to come into contact with other dogs whose vaccination history is unknown.

Animal Care Control also recommends that dog owners confirm with their veterinarian that their pets have current, age-appropriate vaccinations. County residents who are unable to afford vaccinations for their pets may qualify for medical assistance through Animal Care Control's CARE program. Contact the Animal Shelter, or visit www.loudoun.gov/animals.

The Animal Shelter has instituted strict isolation and cleaning protocols to prevent cases of parvovirus that may enter the shelter from infecting the general population. Dogs that come to the shelter as strays or without vaccination records will be kept in quarantine for two weeks.

For more information on parvovirus, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Shelter at 703-777-0406.