BOSTON – Friday, June 14, 2013 – Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Division of Animal Health are alerting dog owners of two significant Canine parvovirus outbreaks affecting northern Berkshire County and Worcester County.
Dozens of dogs have been affected in these two areas, and several have died or had to be euthanized due to severe illness caused by the virus. There are effective vaccines available and animal health officials are urging dog owners to check with their veterinarian to confirm that their pets are protected.
Puppies generally require a series of vaccinations and adult dogs may need a yearly booster. All of the dogs that have been infected during these outbreaks had either never been vaccinated, or had only received one vaccine.
Parvovirus primarily infects puppies, but any unvaccinated dog can be susceptible. Dogs usually exhibit symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, including vomiting and diarrhea. Although dogs can recover from the disease if it is detected early and treated aggressively, it can be fatal. The virus is typically spread directly from dog to dog, but it can persist in the environment for several months. Dogs that have been infected and recover can remain infectious for several months.
Canine parvovirus does not affect humans or other domestic animals.