Cornwall sees deadly canine parvovirus outbreak

A community in east Cornwall is dealing with an epidemic of potentially deadly canine parvovirus.

While the disease does not affect humans, parvo can kill dogs - especially young puppies.

"It causes usually severe dehydration, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss and usually the dog dies just from dehydration," Dr. Adnan El Korchi with the St. Lawrence Valley Animal Hospital in Cornwall told CTV Ottawa.

The highly-contagious disease is spread through contact with feces. It can survive on the ground for up to a year, no matter the season.

Residents in the area report 17 cases of parvo, but El Korchi said it's difficult to tell the true number of cases, because many go unreported.

Parvo can be prevented with a series of vaccines given to puppies when they are two, three and four months old, but the vaccines can cost in the range of $300. It's a cost that is preventing some owners from getting their pets vaccinated.

Brittany Crowder's puppy died of parvo two and a half weeks ago.

"I see a lot of people out with their dogs like everything's OK. Whenever I ask does your puppy have their shots. Oh, no, no, no. I'm just doing this," she told CTV. "Well I did that too and my puppy's dead now."

-With files from CTV's Eric Longley

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