Highly contagious canine parvovirus outbreak in DeKalb, local health officials warn dog owners

Canine virus is highly contagious, health officials say, pet owners should seek veterinary care immediately if symptoms present

DeKALB - An outbreak of a highly contagious canine gastrointestinal virus in DeKalb is forcing a local dog park to close and spurring health officials to ask pet owners to take precautions for their pets’ safety.

According to a news release from the DeKalb County Health Department Friday, the DeKalb County Animal Control is reporting a high number of cases of canine parvovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease often seen in young puppies which spreads from direct contact with a dog’s feces, including through oral or nasal contact in an infected environment.

Signs to watch for

Parvovirus is a virus that attacks the lining of the digestive system and prevents the dog from being able to properly absorb nutrients, according to the DeKalb County Health Department.

Symptoms usually begin with a high fever, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite. Secondary symptoms appear as severe gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and bloody diarrhea. In many cases, dehydration, shock, or death can follow.

If your puppy or dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms of parvovirus, veterinary treatment is required immediately. Early treatment is essential in improving the chance of survival, since Parvovirus has around an 80% death rate in untreated cases.

Steps to take

Residents are urged to keep all puppies and dog’s safe by not taking them to places where interaction with other dogs is likely if any of the animals are not vaccinated against the virus.

Parvovirus is highly contagious and is spread by oral or nasal contact with contaminated feces in the environment. It is also spread through contact with contaminated objects such as hands, clothing, food and water dishes, toys and bedding. It’s extremely resistant in the environment and can survive on objects for seven months or longer.

Health officials said pet owners can help prevent the spread of parvovirus by keeping infected dogs isolated from all other dogs for at least one month after recovering, by cleaning up your dog’s stool and by using a solution of 1 part chlorine bleach to 30 parts hot water to disinfect food and water bowls, bedding, and on outdoor areas such as patios.

If you have a puppy, contact your veterinarian to schedule the canine parvovirus vaccination series. Adult dogs usually receive the parvovirus vaccination as part of their yearly shot package. Treatment for parvovirus can be very costly, so ensuring that your dog is vaccinated against the disease is extremely important.

Katz Dog Park closed

The warning issued Friday did not specify how many cases have been identified, but said the majority have been reported in the area north of Lucinda and west of First Street in DeKalb over the past few weeks.

As a result, Katz Dog Park, 393 W. Dresser Road in DeKalb, will be closed until Aug. 7, the DeKalb Park District announced Friday.

Unfortunately, due to a recent outbreak of the Canine Parvovirus in the DeKalb region and with guidance from the DeKalb...

Posted by DeKalb Park District on Friday, July 30, 2021

The virus, which is not transmitted to humans, health officials said, is most commonly seen in young puppies but can affect an unvaccinated dog of any age.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your dog and Parvovirus, please contact your veterinarian. For a listing of veterinary clinics and hospitals in DeKalb County, please visit the DCHD website at www.health.dekalbcounty.org/services/animal-control/.

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke is the editor of the Daily Chronicle, part of Shaw Media and DeKalb County's only daily newspaper devoted to local news, crime and courts, government, business, sports and community coverage. Kelsey also covers breaking news for Shaw Media Local News Network.