Parvovirus outbreak runs through two Connecticut shelters

Veterinarians treating new cases following shelter quarantine
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Feb 25, 2010
Fairfield, Conn. -- An outbreak of parvovirus in Connecticut has area veterinarians concerned that it might be spreading.

In the last two weeks, two area shelters have gone into an emergency quarantine -- one in Stratford and one in Fairfield. And veterinarian Patricia Hart of Southport Veterinary Center tells DVM Newsmagazine that parvo cases have found their way onto her exam table.

"I have worked for the last 20 years in the area, and haven't seen a case of parvo in years. In the last week, I have seen two cases. It's a lot. I think it is worth taking notice," she adds.

"The worrisome thing to me is that (one of the confirmed parvo cases) reportedly impacted a 4-year-old dog. Even if the dog wasn't current on vaccinations, you would think that the animal had some protection at that age. What would be particularly frightening is if we started seeing those strains that impact adult vaccinated dogs."

Hart's hospital successfully treated a puppy with parvovirus in the last week, but it can be a very expensive disease to treat. "When I did the math for this kid, who didn't have a penny to his name, the cost for treatment would have been around $4,000. Unfortunately, these kind of cases can be deal breakers for many owners."

Veterinarians in the area, Hart says, renewed the calls for diligence and vaccination in preventing the disease.

"It is definitely going to change the way we do things for awhile to stem it off as best we can." Hart is referring to client education, vaccination as well as hospital protocols that would help prevent the spread of the disease among hospitalized patients.

Area veterinarians are speculating that the outbreak may have been imported by a influx of puppies up for sale in the area. Animal-control officials believe the source animals were left at the shelter's doorsteps after hours.