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Canine Parvo Virus outbreak suspected in Lower Valley dogs

The City of Grandview Animal Control officer reports an unusually large number of sick dogs being impounded. The symptoms displayed by these canines, said Animal Control Officer Luis Valdez, indicate the strong possibility of Parvo Virus.

Though there have been previous cases of Parvo in Grandview, they have been limited. This particular occasion, the higher numbers of possible infection lead the Grandview Police Department to believe it may see significantly more problems.

Valdez said over the last week, his department has picked up and identified perhaps as many as eight dogs that are likely victims of Parvo Virus.

The first signs of Canine Parvo Virus may be loss of appetite, depression, fever, vomiting, and/or severe diarrhea in the animal. These symptoms may present themselves roughly five to seven days after the dog is exposed to the virus. After onset, most deaths of animals will occur within 48 to 72 hours.

Valdez said people need to understand that these symptoms may be caused by other factors not related to Parvo; however, Valdez said if a dog exhibits these problems its owners should probably seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.

Puppies and dogs can contract the Parvo Virus even if they never leave their yards. It can be transported to them via people's shoes, hands, car tires, other animals, or even birds who feed in the dog's dish.

The Canine Parvo Virus itself is not what usually causes death in the animal. Rather, it is caused by the severe dehydration and lack of food during the illness.

The illness is transmitted by oral ingestion of viral contaminated feces. It is not airborne. Parvo Virus is highly contagious and extremely hardy. The incidence of disease is highest in puppies and younger dogs. Not all dogs in a litter, or even different dogs kenneled together, show signs of infection or disease. This has a great deal to do with the maternal protection passed to a puppy, by way of mother's milk, within the first 24 hours of life. Some puppies get the protection. Some may not.

Though it is not difficult to sterilize a particular area, it is extremely important that the entire surrounding ground and/or structures are treated, said Valdez. This can be done with a simple household chlorine bleach solution as a disinfectant. The appropriate mixture is suggested as 1 part bleach to 10 parts water or stronger. Thoroughly wet the infected area with this solution, paying particular attention to the hard-to-get-to nooks and crannys, said Valdez.

The City of Grandview Animal Control Department is generally unable to pick up or house animals likely infected with Parvo Virus. Valdez said the constant re-contamination of the Grandview facility would make it impossible to maintain a working ability to house any animals at all.

Valdez reminds pet owners it is their responsibility to care for their animal if it is ill. Those with additional questions should call 882-2000.

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