Animal Protection Line

HEALTH ADVISORY: Alberta SPCA warns dog owners to watch for signs of canine parvovirus among recently purchased dogs


Staying up-to-date with your dog’s vaccinations against canine parvovirus, distemper, rabies and other diseases is essential to keeping your dog healthy. A failure to follow the recommended vaccination schedules puts your animal at risk of contracting debilitating and possibly deadly illnesses.

The Alberta SPCA is advising anyone who has recently bought a dog to be especially vigilant for signs of canine parvovirus (commonly called “parvo”) at this time.

Puppies and young dogs with an unknown or unverified medical history are of particular concern.

Canine parvovirus is an extremely contagious virus that spreads easily between unvaccinated dogs. Severe vomiting and diarrhea (often bloody) and lack of appetite are common symptoms of canine parvovirus infection. Affected dogs usually develop signs of extreme lethargy (a lack of energy), depression and dehydration with fever. Symptoms of canine parvovirus will typically develop after an incubation period of 3 to 10 days in infected dogs.

Vaccinations are very effective in preventing canine parvovirus infection, but puppies that have not completed their full vaccine series and newly vaccinated dogs (within the past 14 days) may still be at risk of infection.

Anyone whose dog is not fully vaccinated against canine parvovirus and develops the described symptoms should immediately seek veterinary care for their dog. If it is not caught early and treated aggressively, canine parvovirus infection can be fatal.

This health advisory results from evidence collected during an ongoing investigation. On April 24, 2017, the Alberta SPCA took a large number of animals into protective custody from a rural property southeast of Calgary. The Calgary Humane Society and the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society are working with the Alberta SPCA to house the animals during the custody period.

The recent precautionary closure of the Calgary Humane Society was done after some of the seized dogs being held there developed canine parvovirus symptoms. Since their arrival, the seized dogs have been kept in isolation, away from other animals at the shelters where they are being held.

The owner of the animals is believed to have recently sold puppies raised at the property that is under investigation. Provincial privacy legislation prevents the Alberta SPCA from revealing the identity of the seller.

As the investigating agency, the Alberta SPCA remains responsible for decisions and costs relating to the care and treatment of the seized dogs.

The Alberta SPCA’s investigation is ongoing.

This situation is an important reminder that any operation that houses dogs is at a constant risk from this devastating disease. When canine parvovirus first emerged, before there was a vaccine, some veterinary clinics would see several parvo deaths a day.

For further information, please contact

Roland Lines
Communications Manager
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
17904 – 118 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5S 2W3
Tel: 780-447-3600 ext. 3742
Email: rlines@albertaspca.org



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