Deadly Parvovirus Cases Increasing in Puppies; Animal Welfare Center Urges Vaccinations

A puppy (file photo)

More than a dozen pet owners have come to the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center (SCAWC) Community Clinic recently seeking help for their sick puppies that are infected with the dangerous parvovirus (parvo).  There is no cure for parvovirus, and it is often fatal in puppies and young dogs that are not vaccinated.  But parvo can be prevented by vaccination. All puppies and dogs under two years old should be vaccinated against parvovirus.

Parvovirus is especially dangerous because it is very contagious – a dog can spread parvo to other dogs before any sign that it is sick.  Parvo spreads through a dog’s feces and through contaminated objects like food and water bowls, kennels and toys.  Parvo is also dangerous because it lives for a long time in the environment – the virus can live up to a month inside the house and up to five years outside in the yard.  The recent heavy rains may have contributed to the increase in parvovirus cases in puppies on St. Croix.

The Animal Welfare Center urges pet owners to have their puppies and dogs under two years old vaccinated against parvovirus.  If puppies and dogs are unvaccinated, pet owners should watch out for these symptoms of the virus:  *Vomiting


*Not Eating

*Not Drinking Water

*Lethargy (no energy, not playful, weak)

If an owner believes that the dog or puppy is sick with parvo, call a veterinarian right away.  The sooner an owner gets a sick pet to a veterinarian, the more likely it will survive.  If a person does not have a veterinarian, call the Animal Welfare Center Community Clinic at 778-1651.

When arriving at the community clinic with a sick puppy, do not bring the puppy inside.  Leave the puppy in the car with the air conditioning on or the windows down, and come inside to tell the receptionist that you have a sick puppy.  A veterinary technician will come out to the car to assist.  The community clinic is located at 5 Corners, next to Thomas Auto Body.

The St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, founded in the 1970s, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing and promoting the humane treatment of animals. It relies on private donations and grants to serve the people and animals of St. Croix.  Now more than ever, it needs the support of the community.  Donations can be made online at