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Dogs euthanized after Parvo outbreak

April 21, 2009 8:06:43 AM PDT
Dozens of dogs had to be euthanized at an animal shelter in Pomona after becoming infected with parvovirus.The Inland Valley Humane Society said it had to euthanize about 50 infected dogs and puppies after officials discovered the parvo outbreak last week.

Canine parvovirus is highly contagious. It attacks the lining of the digestive system and prevents the animal from absorbing liquids and nutrients. Dogs can die of dehydration after being infected with the parvovirus.

Puppies are especially at risk because their immune systems are not fully developed.

The disease can be prevented with a series of shots beginning when dogs are 6 weeks old.

Parvo is transmitted through the feces of infected dogs, but a pet owner usually does not know the dog is sick until it begins to have symptoms, which include vomiting and diarrhea.

The symptoms will start to show about five to 10 days from the time of exposure.

Oprah Winfrey had adopted two dogs from an animal shelter, but had one die after developing parvo. Winfrey has since been trying to raise awareness about the disease.

The best thing pet owners can do is to have dogs vaccinated.

The Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA in Pomona offer low-cost vaccination clinics every two weeks. The next clinic will be on May 6.