Dangerous and highly contagious pet virus emerges in New Jersey, USA
A highly-contagious illness has taken the lives of dozens of dogs in the Trenton area. It’s called parvovirus and is often fatal to dogs.
Parvovirus is most common in puppies and is transmitted from one dog to the other through contaminated feces, according to Dr. Peter Falk, co-chair of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association and practicing veterinarian at Ocean County Veterinary Hospital.
“The virus doesn’t die immediately when it hits the ground, so if a dog is in the yard or walking in the street where someone was with an infected dog, another dog can get the virus on his or her feet, lick the feet and get infected that way,” Falk said.
The virus spreads easily in urban settings or anywhere there is a large concentration of dogs that share playgrounds or go for walks because they have a greater chance of coming into contact with an infected canine. Symptoms of the illness include vomiting, fever, lack of appetite, dehydration and diarrhea.
The good news is, there is a vaccine to prevent parvovirus. Puppies should be vaccinated when they are 6 or 7 weeks old.
“One vaccine doesn’t give them total immunity. They usually get one each month until they are about 14 weeks or older, then they get a booster,” Falk said. “After that, most parvo vaccines are good for three years.”