It’s a highly contagious canine disease that if not caught early, can be proven fatal.
It’s canine parvovirus and several animal shelters in the New Jersey towns of Clifton and Passaic have reported an increase of the disease in the past two weeks. Some dogs were so sick they had to be euthanized, officials at the Clifton, New Jersey Dog Shelter said.
But animal experts say there is no cause for alarm among dog owners whose pets have had all their vaccinations, and officials at the Clifton and Passaic, New Jersey shelters say the problem is under control and their shelters are open for business and accepting pet adoptions.
Parvovirus infects only dogs and can cause lethargy, loss of appetite, dehydration, vomiting and bloody diarrhea, among other symptoms.
“This happens every once in a while when stray animals come into our shelter and we get outbreaks of something or other like mange or parvo,” said Robert Boyle, the Clifton New Jersey Animal Control officer.
“The animals are doing fine now after an outbreak at the Passaic Shelter“, said Passaic, New Jersey Health Officer John Biegel.
“This is common when you have a shelter and dogs coming in and you don’t know where they’ve been and you don’t know what they’ve been exposed to,” Biegel said. “We did not take any new dogs in until we were sure it was safe enough to do so,” said Biegel.
In an effort to contain the virus in Clifton, New Jersey, Boyle said the sick dogs were separated from rest of the dogs. Some of the healthy dogs were shipped to other shelters so they wouldn’t get exposed.
“When the dogs come here, we give them all their shots right away so they are protected. We also clean their cages and the floors several times a day. We spend the extra money and time to give the dogs the protection they need,” said Boyle.
Boyle said that only a few dogs were affected and they have been carefully monitored.