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Parvovirus: Stopping a Deadly Disease from Overwhelming Your Shelter

Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that can sweep through your shelter’s dog kennels and wreak havoc in your community. Controlling it requires education, planning, and more than a little elbow grease.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that can sweep through your shelter’s dog kennels and wreak havoc in your community. Controlling it requires education, planning, and more than a little elbow grease.

Last December, the Humane Society of Cambria County (HSCC) in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, began receiving calls from recent adopters complaining that their new puppies were infected with canine parvovirus (or parvo), a highly-resistant virus that attacks the canine intestinal tracts. Following its normal protocol, the HSCC checked records for littermates of the infected pups and called adopters of those animals to inform them of the situation. No more cases were found or reported. No more sick animals appeared at the shelter. And the problem seemed to go away.

A couple of months later, however, the calls started again. Staff were alarmed. What were they doing wrong? They did their best to keep their facility clean and had a good vaccination program: All dogs and puppies were being inoculated with a parvo vaccine after they arrived at the shelter. So why were so many animals coming down with parvo?

In the weeks that followed, HSCC evaluated its disinfection, isolation, monitoring, and vaccination programs and educated the community about parvo prevention. The articles and sidebars that follow may help your shelter cope with a parvo problem too, or better yet, prevent one.

 Read the full series of stories.

 

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