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Virus killing Kent County dogs

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) -- The Humane Society of Kent County said in a release that a highly virulent or new strain of parvovirus has killed at least three adult dogs in the county.

"The number of local Parvo cases is disturbingly high," Dr. Wendy Swift, veterinary medical director at the Humane Society, said in a release. "The virus is spread through fecal contamination, and it has been extremely fatal in puppies as well as in both vaccinated and unvaccinated adult dogs."

Canine parvovirus type 2c (Parvo2c) is currently the most common infectious disorder of dogs in the United States.

The intestinal signs include lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea - usually bloody, and very foul-smelling - and fever.

The only way to know if a dog has parvo is through a positive diagnostic test.

Replacing fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea is probably the single most important treatment.

The Humane Society is encouraging pet owners to contact their veterinarians to see if their dog's previous vaccinations provide protection against this current outbreak of parvo.

If you suspect your dog has contracted the virus, contact your veterinarian immediately and keep your dog confined, away from other dogs.

The Humane Society of Kent County closed Friday and is currently taking precautionary measures including a deep clean of the shelter, vaccinating all dogs and puppies appropriately upon intake and performing diagnostic tests with a veterinary pharmaceutical company.

The Humane Soceity will reopen Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for adoptions only. Animal admitting will resume August 25 during normal hours. However, all animal admitting will be by appointment only August 25 through August 31 for precautionary measures. To make an appointment, you can call (616) 453-8900 ext. 217.

(Peteducation.com and About.com contributed to this report)

On the Net:

Parvovirus info from the American Veterinary Medical Association

Parvovirus info on About.com

Parvovirus info on Peteducation.com

Humane Society of Kent County

Cascade Hospital for Animals

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