On Monday, November 14, the San Francisco SPCA confirmed two additional cases of parvovirus among the dogs at Occupy SF. Three dogs have now been brought to the SF SPCA Veterinary Hospital at the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center from Occupy SF and are currently being treated for the disease. All three dogs have a guarded prognosis and are receiving IV fluids.
Parvo is a highly contagious and often fatal disease that mostly affects young dogs and puppies under the age of six months. There is a highly effective series vaccines for parvo, but puppies need to receive the entire series to be immune. Until they reach 16-weeks of age and have received the complete series of shots, puppies should not be allowed to walk on grassy areas or be near other dogs that have not been vaccinated. Parvo can live on the ground for many months and unvaccinated puppies can easily catch parvo from contact with an infected dog or area.
"Parvo is difficult and expensive to treat, and even with treatment it is often fatal in younger dogs," said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, co-president of the SF SPCA. "We need people to help get the word out about parvo at Occupy SF. This disease is spread by direct or indirect contact with contaminated feces, and symptoms of parvo include vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The disease is not transmittable to humans."
On Monday the SF SPCA hosted a free veterinary clinic at Occupy SF. Clinic workers noted several dogs with signs of kennel cough. Symptoms of this highly contagious disease include dry "honking" cough, nasal discharge, and general malaise that may progress to pneumonia.
Clinic workers also noted several dogs with symptoms of Giardia, depending on the subspecies involved the disease can be transmittable to humans. The main symptom in both dogs and humans is diarrhea, which can cause severe medical complications if left untreated. Giardia is transmitted through infected feces.
The SF SPCA is very concerned about the spread of these diseases at Occupy SF, and strongly encourages protesters to not bring their animals to the camp.