Lowell police warn dog owners of contagious infection

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LOWELL, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- The Lowell Police Department is warning all area dog owners of a potential outbreak of canine parvovirus (CPV) in the area.

The highly contagious viral infection impacts dogs' intestinal tracts and is transmitted when a dog comes into contact with the feces or vomit of an infected dog.

If not treated, the disease can be fatal, police said. Symptoms in an infected dog include lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody diarrhea.

Officials say that certain breeds of dog are at a higher risk of contracting CPV. Some of those breeds are American Staffordshire terriers, rottweilers, doberman pinschers, Labrador retrievers, and German shepherds.

The city is working with local veterinarians and the state to come up with ways to control the disease. People with sick dogs are encouraged to take them to the vet, not walk them in public, and always clean up after pets.