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Parvovirus Alert issued by the Humane Society of Washington County

Parvovirus Alert issued by the Humane Society of Washington County

Hagerstown, MD: The Humane Society of Washington County (HSWC) is issuing an alert to the public following the positive identification of 5 cases of parvovirus in young puppies that were brought to the shelter from the 4000 block of Mills Road in Sharpsburg, MD. An additional four dogs at the shelter contracted the disease and had to be euthanized. Until further notice the HSWC will not be accepting owned dogs and they are asking individuals who find dogs to please hold onto them and contact our offices to fill out a Found report over the phone or on line. A photo of the found dog can be emailed to Heather at
Parvovirus, commonly referred to as Parvo, is an extremely contagious and potentially fatal canine disease that is transmitted through direct exposure to feces containing the virus or with an affected animal. The disease can survive on inanimate objects such as clothing, food pans, affected outside kennels, so exposure to anything that has come in contact with the virus can potentially spread the disease.
All items that have come in contact with the virus must be bleached immediately. This includes bedding, food bowels and dishes and the flooring and walls where the dog has been. The most susceptible to the disease are young dogs under 6 months old and older frail dogs. The dogs will exhibit extreme diarrhea that is frequently bloody and very foul smelling, vomiting, lethargy and will become dehydrated. A test can be done to determine whether the dog has the disease. Parvo affects only dogs and is not contagious to humans or other animals. If untreated, the disease is frequently fatal.
"This is an extremely dangerous situation," stated Paul Miller, Executive Director of the HSWC. "The puppies that were infected were brought in by the public. That means the disease is out in the community. It is extremely important for all dogs to be inoculated against the disease. If you have not had your dog inoculated and/or if your dog exhibits any of the symptoms of parvo you should contact your veterinarian immediately."
It is unclear why there is a dramatic increase in the number of parvo cases seen at the shelter, however the economic downturn seems to be a good suspect. "Due to the bad economy many people are not able to have their dogs inoculated and this can cause a nationwide problem," said Miller. "By holding off on inoculating their pets in an effort to save money can result in the pet becoming infected with this potentially fatal disease. We strongly recommend against doing this. If you love your pets you need to continue to provide preventative care for them. We suggest speaking with your veterinarian about making payment arrangements if at all possible."
The Humane Society of Washington County is located at 13011 Maugansville Road in Hagerstown, MD. Visit our website,, for information on animal related issues, directions to the shelter and information about our programs and services.

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