What is happening right now at Calgary Humane Society?
We had two dogs come into our shelter on the afternoon of April 24 from out of town. One showed serious symptoms of Canine Parvovirus and when tested came back positive for the disease. The other dog that came in with the first dog was immediately tested and also came back positive for parvo. Both cases were fairly advanced and the decision was made to humanely euthanize them so they did not suffer further.
What is parvo?
Canine Parvovirus (aka “Parvo”) is a virus that can cause severe inflammation of the intestines in canines. The virus infects cells of the intestine leading to structural changes that prevent dogs from properly absorbing nutrients.
Canine parvovirus is a dangerous and extraordinarily contagious virus that spreads easily between unvaccinated dogs. If not caught early and treated aggressively parvovirus infection can be lethal.
What are the symptoms of Canine Parvovirus?
Severe vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody) and lack of appetite are common symptoms of canine parvovirus infection. Affected dogs usually develop signs of extreme lethargy (lack of energy), depression and dehydration with fever. Leukopenia (low white blood cells) can often be seen on blood work. In severe cases death can occur rapidly. Symptoms of canine parvovirus will typically develop after an incubation period of 3-10 days in infected dogs. Dog with suspected canine parvovirus exposure should be carefully monitored for symptoms.
What dogs are most at risk of Canine Parvovirus infection?
Unvaccinated dogs are at risk for canine parvovirus. Puppies and immune compromised dogs are at particular risk. Vaccinations are very effective in preventing canine parvovirus infection but puppies who have not completed their full vaccine series and newly vaccinated (vaccinated less than 10-14 days prior to exposure) may still be at risk of infection.
Is this an outbreak?
No this is not an outbreak. The disease at this point has been contained and we do not have any other animals who are exhibiting symptoms. We are continuing to deep clean, quarantine and monitor our animals to ensure this remains the case.
Don’t you vaccinate on intake?
We do however the vaccine takes at least a few days to take effect. The dogs in this case had already developed the disease and therefore the vaccine was not effective for them.
Why did you close your shelter?
As an organization we take in the most vulnerable animals, often with no information on their history or previous care therefore we closed our shelter in order to best protect the public and our animals. We have done a full deep clean of every corner of the shelter and are doing additional deep cleaning over the coming days. We have quarantined all of our animals in holding to reduce any chance of the disease spreading. This closure was mainly a precautionary measure as we take the health of our animals and the health of the public very seriously.
When will you reopen?
We have heard some confusion as to how long we will be closed. We anticipate opening within the next few days however we want to ensure the health and safety of our animals and the public’s therefore we will only open when we feel very confident it is safe to do so. We will post all of our reopening information on our website and social media.
I adopted a dog from you or attended training classes there recently, is my dog at risk?
Parvovirus is in the community and can be contracted from a dog park or on the street. The two dogs that came in with parvo were restricted to our holding area and did not have any access to our dog park, training areas or adoptions area therefore the risk to the public is minimal.
I was at the shelter yesterday, am I at risk?
The risk to any members of the public or animals in our adoptions area is very low and we are closing the shelter as a precaution. The risk to any vaccinated dogs is also extremely low however if you are concerned you are encouraged to contact your veterinarian.
How can the public help?
Right now we are asking members of the public to be patient with us as we work to clean and care for our animals. We will continue to communicate via our website and social media if we do need any additional supplies and will also let you know once we reopen to the public.
What should I do to protect my dog from parvo?
Vaccination is the best way to protect your dog from contracting parvo virus.
If l find a stray animal where should I take it?
We will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, if you have found a stray please bring them to your nearest veterinary clinic or the City of Calgary. If you have an animal to surrender, please either hold on to them or contact us for an appointment in the future.