LOWELL (CBS) — A highly contagious viral disease has killed at least 15 dogs in Lowell.

Lowell Animal Control Officer Darlene Wood told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 there have been 15 confirmed cases of the canine parvovirus in the past two weeks.

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In each case the dog has died.

“We’re asking dog owners to check and see if their dogs have updated vaccinations or have been vaccinated for the parvovirus, and if they have not, to certainly go to a veterinarian and get that done,” Wood said Tuesday.

She told WBZ there have also been cases of the virus in the Berkshires, Worcester County and on the North Shore.

“It’s transmitted through the feces and the vomit of a dog that already has the disease. Your dog would see such things as his eating might be off. He’d be lethargic, vomiting a lot, bloody diarrhea. It has a very distinct smell,” Wood said.

“Because it’s so highly contagious, the viral disease can actually live on inanimate objects for months.”

Wood said if you suspect your dog may have the virus, don’t take him or her to a public area, and get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Darlene Wood talks with WBZ’s Matt Ledin:

The MSPCA has scrambled a coalition of state government, veterinary and animal welfare organizations to conduct a series of free parvovirus vaccine clinics in areas hard hit by the recent outbreaks.

The clinics have been confirmed for the following locations and dates:

-MSPCA-Nevins Farm, 400 Broadway, Methuen, Mass.: Thursday, Aug. 21 and Friday, Aug. 22 from 3:00p.m. to 6:00p.m.
-South Common Park, Lawrence, Mass.: Sunday, Aug. 24 from 9:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.
-Central Catholic School, Lawrence, Mass.: Sunday, Aug. 24 from 1:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.


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