Dog owners are urged to be on alert about a serious, sometimes deadly virus that is showing up in Lancaster County. Animal welfare groups in the county have dealt with 13 cases of Canine Parvovirus in the past week.
Canine Parvovirus is a very contagious, difficult-to-treat viral disease that is spread through contact with an infected dog’s feces.
“Very bad diarrhea, lethargy, they just look very ill,” said Jennifer Wiese, a veterinary technician at the Lancaster County SPCA. “The diarrhea has a distinct smell, there can be blood in it.”
People found nine of the infected dogs in the southern part of Lancaster city, including a litter of puppies in the Beaver Street area. Three dogs in Columbia borough also tested positive for the virus. At least nine of the dogs were near death and had to be euthanized.
At Lancaster’s new dog park, dog owners were well aware of the issue, but said people there do a great job of cleaning up after their pets at the park.
“Everyone is really friendly and very open about it and so it’s been a great conversation topic, just so we’re all very aware of what is going on,” said Allie Whitesel, who brought her dog Achilles to the dog park.
The best way to protect your dog from Parvo is to make sure it’s vaccinated against the virus.
“If your dog is up-to-date, then they’re pretty safe,” said Bob Sauders, who was also at the park with his dog. “But it’s just like anything else, you can’t protect them from everything.”
Vets also recommend keeping your dog away from other dog’s feces and keeping their food and water bowls and toys clean.
You can read more about Parvovirus here.