Chhimi Dema 

At least 14 dogs in Thimphu and Paro have died of canine parvovirus since its outbreak in December last year. 

The outbreak of the contagious disease was first reported in Thimphu, and Paro reported its first case on March 18 this year.  

Records with the Department of Livestock (DoL) show that 88 cases were reported from the two dzongkhags since the outbreak.

DoL’s chief veterinary officer, Dr Rinzin Pem, said: “Canine Parvo Virus (CPV) infection is a contagious and potentially fatal disease in dogs.”

It affects dogs of all ages but most cases occur in puppies 6 to 20 weeks of age, she said. “Most commonly, parvovirus causes gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).”

Records show that between 2016 and 2020, at least five dzongkhags recorded cases of CPV.

Dogs infected with CPV experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea with or without blood, and dehydration.

Dr Rinzin Pem said that infected dogs should be isolated and given treatment from the nearest veterinary centre.

The dogs are given symptomatic treatment such as fluid therapy, antibiotics, antiemetic, and antidiarrheal drugs since there is no antiviral therapy.

Parvovirus is most commonly transmitted either by direct contact with an infected dog or indirectly from the environment.

The veterinary officer said: “There is evidence that virus can live in the environment for up to a year. Up-to-date vaccination against parvovirus can prevent the infection.”

The virus is not transmissible to humans, she said. It mainly affects canine species.

Good hygiene and timely vaccination are recommended to prevent CPV infection.

“The currently available vaccine (DHPPi+L) protects pets against five major common viral canine diseases namely canine distemper, canine hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis,” Dr Rinzin Pem said.

Primary vaccination is done at 6 to 8 weeks, and a booster at three weeks after primary vaccination and then re-vaccination annually.