SPCA takes caution after parvovirus diagnosis

The Williams Lake SPCA branch isn’t adopting out any dogs after a puppy arrived at the shelter infected with parvovirus last week.

The Williams Lake SPCA branch isn’t adopting out any dogs this week after a puppy arrived at the shelter infected with parvovirus last week.

“It’s so easy to spread,” branch manager Liz Dighton said of parvovirus. “Anytime a puppy comes in sick we do a lockdown for at least a week.”

Parvovirus is really bad in Williams Lake, she said.

“We always tell people wait until you get the three shots before you take your dog out and about in town.”

Generally, the first parvovirus vaccine is given at six to eight weeks of age and a booster is given at four-week intervals until the puppy is 16 to 20 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age.While every new puppy at the SPCA is automatically vaccinated for parvovirus and the local branch does not actually see outbreaks of the virus too often, this recent case is the third one this year so far, Dighton said.

The infected puppy arrived Wednesday and began showing symptoms of being very subdued.

“They tend to internalize themselves and then you notice a bit of vomiting and diarrhea and it comes on full bang and the puppy looks sicker than a dog,” Dighton said.

The lockdown will be lifted in a week as long as no other dogs exhibit parvovirus symptoms.

But if other dogs come forward with symptoms, whether or not it’s parvovirus, the SPCA locks down for an additional week to be on the safe side, Dighton said.

When asked how many dogs are at the shelter right now, Dighton responded “a lot.”

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract.

Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems.

 

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