Two dogs at Whanganui's pound have been euthanised after another tested positive for parvovirus.
Whanganui District Council says the two dogs were euthanised in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
A dog which was impounded on November 15 later showed symptoms of parvovirus and subsequently tested positive.
In an emailed statement council's compliance operations manager Warrick Zander said the dog was then isolated and the owners were asked to collect their dog and seek veterinary treatment for it.
He said parvovirus took seven to nine days to develop and because the dog was only in the pound for two days it was "reasonable to assume it caught the virus before it came to the pound".
The owners picked up their dog immediately.
"The parts of the pound that had been in contact with the infected dog were thoroughly cleaned with specialist disinfectant two dogs in close proximity to the infected dog's kennel were euthanised because of the risk of them contracting the virus and spreading it further," Zander said.
"We believe these precautions prevented an outbreak of parvovirus at the pound."
Parvovirus is highly contagious and prevalent in the dog population.
It is spread easily via shoes, on clothing, in dog kennels, at parks and along riverbanks.
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Zander said it was important for owners to have their dogs vaccinated against this highly infectious disease.
"We cannot guarantee that dogs rehomed from the pound are free of parvovirus at any given time and prospective owners must accept this risk, which is explained during the adoption process."
The risk of a parvo outbreak at the Ridgway St pound was raised by Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall in 2018 when district councillors were debating building a new pound at Airport Rd.
"Parvovirus could go through that tomorrow and we'd be front page of every newspaper in the country and deservedly so," he said at the time.
"We don't want to build an over-spec'ed pound but building a pound is vital."
The council subsequently approved Airport Rd as the location for the planned facility and put a further $550,000 in its draft 10-year plan to top up $450,000 already set aside.
Whanganui's dog pound was facing a "controlled shutdown" had councillors not approved an extra $550,000 for a new facility, according to Whanganui District Council chief executive Kym Fell at the time.
Signs of parvovirus
Although symptoms can vary, generally the disease's progress is:
*Puppies usually become off-colour and start vomiting clear fluid, sometimes with food in it.
*They may develop diarrhoea immediately or it may take some time to develop and last from a few days to a week.
*The pup may drool and not be able to keep down food or water.
*Blood from their intestinal lining will then appear in the vomit and diarrhoea, leading to life-threatening dehydration.