Parvo Virus Suspected on Grand Turk

The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services (MOHAHS), Agriculture and Animal Health Services Division wishes to advise Grand Turk animal owners, that there appears to be an outbreak of Parvo virus on the Island of Grand Turk. This disease can be fatal to dogs especially puppies.
 
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, especially in the intestinal tract. It also attacks the white blood cells. When young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle leading to lifelong cardiac problem. 
 
Symptoms of the virus are loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and foul smelling often bloody diarrhea which can quickly lead to life threatening dehydration.
 
This extremely contagious disease can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's feces. The virus is very resistant, and survives in the environment for months. It is common for unvaccinated dogs to become infected when exposed to the virus.
 
Parvovirus is most harmful to puppies up to one year old and it is strongly recommended that they be vaccinated before exposing them to outside areas.  Older unvaccinated dogs are not severely affected by the virus but can still contract and shed it, thereby spreading it to different locations. The virus can exist in soil which has been the site of feces from infected dogs.  
 
It can be carried by shoes and walked into your yard where it can live in the soil for a very long time. Prevention methods include the disinfecting of your harder surfaces with the use of a strong solution of bleach.  
 
We are therefore recommending that pet owners have their animals:-
• Vaccinated as a preventative measure. 
• Not move animals from suspected infected areas to other areas.
• Contact a veterinarian If symptoms are noticed, if  unsure or notice diarrhea 
• Do not transport/ship dogs from Grand Turk to other islands without approval from the Department of Agriculture. 
• Exercise caution when handling sick animals.
 
The Department of Agriculture wishes to further advise the Grand Turk community that the veterinary team from Bark and Bliss Animal Wellness Centre on Providenciales will be in Grand Turk every Thursday to conduct test, vaccinations and treatments as necessary. These services will be provided at a cost. 
 
The veterinary team can be contacted at 649-232-2275 or the Department of Agriculture at 649-338-3881 or 338-3882.