The BC SPCA is holding a special vaccination clinic today in a Downtown Eastside SRO after an outbreak of the potentially fatal canine parvovirus was confirmed in puppies being cared for in a building near Dunlevy Avenue and Powell Street. Three of the puppies have since died and the fourth is receiving intensive veterinary care.
“One of our animal protection officers was called out on Friday regarding four sick and dying puppies, and it was confirmed that the puppies were suffering from the parvovirus,” says Mark Vosper, the BC SPCA’s regional manager for animal protection in the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley. Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious and often deadly virus mainly affecting dogs, with unvaccinated puppies being particularly vulnerable.
“Our animal protection team immediately coordinated with our senior manager of animal health, Dr. Hannah Weitzenfeld, to set up a free vaccination clinic in the building to ensure that other dogs and puppies who may have come in contact with the sick puppies receive a parvo vaccine as quickly as possible,” says Vosper.”
Dr. Weitzenfeld and other volunteer veterinarians and volunteers are at the clinic, administering the vaccines and ensuring that residents understand the symptoms to watch for.
Signs of parvovirus include:
- loss of appetite
- abdominal pain and bloating
- fever or low body temperature (hypothermia)
- severe, often bloody, diarrhea
Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock.
“We urge anyone in the area whose dog or puppy is exhibiting these symptoms to seek veterinary help right away,” says Vosper.