PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Animal control officers in Providence are alerting dog owners in the city to be aware of a serious canine virus that is going around the area.
Officials say an usually high number of Parvovirus cases have been reported in Providence and at the State Veterinarian’s Office.
Canine Parvovirus, or “Parvo” is required to be reported to the state if the dog came from a shelter, municipal pound, boarding kennel, rescue or pet shop, according to police.
Police say outbreaks of the virus were reported in the Wanskuck area of Providence in July, but additional reports show that the infection is spreading into other parts of the city.
Parvo can be severe in dogs that are not immune to the virus, officials say, and puppies and dogs that have not been vaccinated have the greatest risk of becoming infected.
Symptoms of the virus include vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and death in some cases. Vets say dogs with the virus can also develop other infections, because the virus can weaken their immune systems.
According to officials, the virus can spread through feet, shoes, or other objects – and often, dogs contract the virus by ingesting it. Pit-bulls, Rottweilers, and Labrador Retrievers are more susceptible to the infection, but cats cannot catch it.
While treatment is available, the best strategy is to vaccinate dogs against the virus, according to police, because treatment can be expensive and many not always be successful.
Veterinarians who see positive cases of the virus should contact Dr. Scott Marshall in DEM’s Division of Agriculture at (401) 222-4700 ext. 4503.