Tips to Prevent and Manage Canine Parvovirus in the Shelter
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious virus that is a significant disease concern in shelters. It is important for shelters to develop protocols to help prevent introduction of the virus and to manage the disease if it does enter the shelter population.
The tips provided below will provide guidelines to aid shelters in developing appropriate protocols for their facilities.
Vaccinating & Deworming
- Vaccinate animals at intake. The modified-live CPV vaccine is excellent and provides rapid protection against viral challenge.
- Vaccinate puppies in the shelter starting at 4 weeks of age using a modified-live CPV vaccine, with boosters every 2 weeks, until 20 weeks of age.
- Evidence indicates one modified-live vaccine likely provides lifelong immunity in adult dogs; however, in high-risk situations it is advisable to repeat the vaccination in 2 weeks.
- Deworm routinely with a broad spectrum anthelminitic.
Routine Cleaning & Disinfecting
- It is important to clean and disinfect any surfaces animals may come into contact with, not just the kennel cages.
- Promptly remove fecal waste and thoroughly clean the area.
- Use the Disinfectant Chart to find the most appropriate choice for your shelter.
- Follow good Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) practices.
- Utilize shoe covers or dedicated boots in isolation areas. Do not use foot baths which can actually spread disease rather than prevent it.
- Maintain a dedicated set of cleaning equipment for individual rooms or wards.
- Avoid using mops to clean.
- If clothing, bedding, towels, etc. are heavily soiled consider discarding the items. If items are laundered use hot water and a good quality detergent. Do not overload the washing machine and use a clothes dryer rather than hanging items up to dry.
- Establish routines for cleaning, feeding, playing
- Provide bedding and toys (disposable or disinfectable) for enrichment
- Turn lights off at night so animals can sleep
- Reduce noise levels and play soft music
Basics of Parvo Response
Be prepared ahead of time with a detailed canine parvovirus (CPV) response protocol for your shelter developed by, or in consultation with, your shelter’s veterinarian.
- Promptly isolate diagnosed cases from the remainder of the shelter population. See Diagnosing and Treating Parvovirus in the Shelter for more information.
- Effectively sanitize or discard any exposed areas or items. Ensure appropriate notification and equipment are in place to institute biosecurity measures.
- Infected = diagnosed CPV cases.
- Exposed = dogs with the potential of disease exposure from infected dog(s). This will include any dogs co-housed with affected canines and may include dogs housed in the same kennel unit depending on biosecurity practices. If the infected dogs have moved throughout the shelter or if biosecurity practices are lacking, the entire canine shelter population may be exposed.
- Unexposed = dogs with no significant potential of disease exposure.
Using this flowchart as a guide, develop a response plan for your shelter population in the event parvo strikes.
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