The National Council of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) has urged dog owners to be vigilant as the Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is spreading fast across the country.

Over the weekend 37 puppies had to be put down and another eight died of the deadly virus at the South African Police Service (SAPS) K9 Academy in Roodeplaat, Pretoria.

Dog owners have been advised to look out for symptoms including diarrhoea, listlessness, loss of appetite and lethargy.

The NSPCA says any dog or puppy displaying any of the above symptoms should be seen by a vet without delay.

NSPCA Spokesperson Meg Wilson says, “Vomiting and often bloody diarrhoea and this can cause rapid damage to their intestines and immune system. Dog owners should consult their local vets for the best vaccination protocol available and if your pup or dog shows any signs of parvo (CPV) you must seek vet assistance immediately.  If you have had a dog with parvo it is important not to introduce any other dogs to that environment for at least 12 weeks and that dog should be up to date with vaccinations.”

According to Kidshealth, parvo transmission to humans is common, especially between children, as it spreads easily through saliva, skin or blood contact.

The most common symptom in children is “slap cheek disease” which is a big red rash in the cheeks, arms or legs. It can also manifest in the form of a brief fever, sore throat, muscle pains, itchiness and headaches.