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32 dogs vaccinated after Vancouver parvovirus outbreak kills puppies
A dog is seen at an animal clinic in this image from the BC SPCA's Instagram account.
The BC SPCA says it has helped vaccinate 32 dogs since an outbreak of a deadly disease in the Vancouver area that left at least four puppies dead last month.
On June 20, the society issued a warning urging dog owners in the city to make sure their pets were vaccinated against parvovirus.
The illness, which is commonly referred to as just parvo, is "a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease that attacks the gastrointestinal system of dogs and can also damage the heart muscle," according to the SPCA.
At the time, the SPCA said six puppies had been diagnosed, most of which did not survive.
The organization held an expanded animal vaccine clinic for pet guardians who are homeless or live in SROs.
"These clinics provide people who face financial barriers with access to vaccines and regular checkups for their pets," Kim Monteith, the BC SPCA's manager of animal welfare, said in a statement. "This community outreach initiative aims to prevent disease in pets, which ultimately prevents all animals from suffering."
Charlie's free vet clinic at Oppenheimer Park saw 52 dogs and vaccinated 32 of them, including puppies that had never been to a vet. Those dogs are set to return to the clinic later this month to get booster shots.
Dogs can get parvo by coming in contact with feces from an infected dog, and the virus can live for several months. Unvaccinated dogs and puppies are most susceptible.
Symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea and lethargy. According to the SPCA, puppies should be vaccinated on a schedule determined by the dog's vet. Immunizations typically start at six to eight weeks of age, with follow-up boosters at four-week intervals until the animal is 20 weeks old.
Adult dogs that aren't vaccinated should receive at least one shot.
There is a type of parvovirus that can affect humans, but canine parvo is a separate strain and cannot be spread to people.