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Canine parvovirus state issued alert

A high number of canine parvovirus in the state of Rhode Island prompt officials to issue the following press release.

The Department of Environmental Management is alerting dog owners in the state of an unusually high number of cases of canine parvovirus being reported to the State Veterinarian's office. Canine parvovirus is required to be reported to the State Veterinarian if the diagnosis is made in a dog that originated in an animal shelter, municipal pound, boarding kennel, or pet shop.

Several municipal pounds have reported parvovirus and there have also been reports made by members of the general public. Reports made by the general public are voluntary and are useful for disease surveillance purposes. The virus is considered to be always present in the environment, however the high number of recently reported cases suggests that there is more of it going around than usual.

Parvovirus can cause severe disease in dogs that are not immune to the virus. Immunity can come from vaccination or from surviving a natural exposure. The usual signs of parvovirus infection in dogs are related to the intestinal system. Usually dogs will vomit and have diarrhea, sometimes with blood in it. The diarrhea and vomiting can be severe and result in dehydration and death. Dogs with parvovirus infection can also develop other infections because the virus can weaken their immune system. Sick dogs should be immediately brought to a veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

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