As many as 250 street dogs have fallen prey to gastroenteritis caused by 'canine parvovirus'. Majority of the dead canines are pups. Death toll spiralled in the last three days at Bishnupur in Bankura in West Bengal. Veterinarians have suggested home isolation for dogs once they are vaccinated. The highly-contagious virus spreads through direct or indirect contact through faeces.
Veterinarians believe that the sudden spike in parvovirus cases is due to the skipping of timely vaccination amid the coronavirus pandemic. Veterinary doctor Subhash Sarkar told India Today that he received a rush of parvovirus infected dogs in the past two months. "Due to the pandemic, many dogs have not been vaccinated. This year, as vaccination is not completed on time, it is causing chaos. Another issue was the unavailability of vets for vaccination," he said.
The parvovirus is contracted during seasonal change. Symptoms of parvovirus are similar to cholera in humans. Loose motion, blood loss, dehydration and in severe cases, cardiac failure are some of the symptoms.
Dr Gautam Mukherjee said that if a dog is showing symptoms such as not eating, excessive vomiting, diarrhoea then saline must be administered to it. He also suggested home isolation for the dogs once the vaccine is administered.
Moreover, there aren't enough home isolation units for the virus-affected dogs at vet hospitals and clinics in Kolkata. Kolkata Municipal Corporation's dog pound in Dhapa has around 70 isolation units, while organisations such as Love n Care for Animals and Ashari have around 40 isolation units.
Dogs that survive the first three days of the disease usually recover from it. Like coronavirus, canines with mild symptoms can be isolated at home and put on drips at a secluded place.
The disease is not known to pass from dogs to humans and is restricted to canines only.