Six dogs euthanized because of parvovirus

Six dogs have been euthanized at the Providence Animal Shelter after contracting parvovirus, a highly contagious canine disease.

According to Dave Holden, director of the Providence Animal Shelter, the shelter has been closed since Monday when a dog came down with parvo, and during the seven day state mandated closure and quarantine other dogs became infected with the disease.

According to Holden the dogs that contracted the parvovirus came from wings all over the pound, and therefore could have infected other dogs. Part of what makes this virus so tricky is that while the dog is receiving treatment it is still transmitting the disease, meaning that other dogs could still contract it.

The disease is transmitted through oral contact with infected feces, and it can be carried on the dog's hair and feet where it then can contaminate crates, shoes, mats and other objects; when the dog anything that has come into contact with the infected feces it develops the disease.

Parvovirus can affect dogs at any age, but it is seen the most in 6 to 20 week old puppies. The virus attacks by dividing cells in the body, such as those in bone marrow and intestinal tract, which then causes severe gastrointestinal upset.

Holden told NBC 10 that the virus is not coming from the animal shelter, but from the stray dogs brought into the shelter that may not have received the proper care.

The shelter is set to reopen on September 28th, as long as no other dogs show parvo symptoms. The ability to reopen the shelter to be able to take in other stray dogs and quarantining dogs that have bitten other dogs or humans to make sure they do not have rabies was part of the decision to euthanize the affected dogs because of the risk of more exposure during treatment.

According to Holden Parvovirus can be prevented with a simple vaccine that costs only $12, however the vaccine won't work if the dog has already contracted the disease.