Pet owners in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are being alerted to an outbreak of a potentially fatal canine virus.
According to the BC SPCA, three puppies have died from the parvovirus.
The puppies were cared for in a building near Dunlevy Avenue and Powell Street and the fourth puppy is receiving intensive veterinary care.
Mark Vosper, the BC SPCA’s regional manager for animal protection in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, warns the parvovirus is highly contagious and often a deadly virus affecting mainly dogs.
"One of our animal protection officers was called out on Friday regarding four sick and dying puppies, and it was confirmed that the puppies were suffering from the parvovirus,” he says.
Pet owners should watch for parvovirus signs, including lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and bloating, fever or low body temperature, vomiting and severe, often bloody diarrhea.
Since the outbreak, BC SPCA acted immediately and offered up a free vaccination clinic to those in the building.
"Dr. Hannah Weitzenfeld set up a free vaccination clinic in the building to ensure that other dogs and puppies who may have come in contact with the sick puppies receive a parvo vaccine as quickly as possible,” says Vosper.
A total of 18 dogs, which was all of the dogs in the building where the parvo outbreak occurred, were vaccinated on Monday.
“We urge anyone in the area whose dog or puppy is exhibiting these symptoms to seek veterinary help right away,” says Vosper.
Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration and damage to the intestines and immune system causing septic shock in animals.