Saturday, February 17 , 2018, 12:22 pm | Fair 65º


Animal Services Warns Dog Owners of Parvovirus Outbreak

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is seeing an alarmingly high number of cases of parvovirus in dogs in Northern Santa Barbara County, including five confirmed cases of parvovirus coming to the Santa Maria Animal Center in the last two weeks.

Of great concern this year are a number of animal owners who have been refusing treatment and taking sick dogs home from veterinary offices.

Although parvovirus can be contracted from any contaminated area, Santa Barbara County Animal Services reports that the majority of cases have been seen in the area of Preisker Park in Santa Maria and the areas of Bradley and Rice Ranch roads in Orcutt. All county residents are urged to keep all puppies safe by not letting them outside of your fenced yard until they have received their vaccinations and are protected from the virus.

Parvovirus is most commonly seen in young puppies but can affect an unvaccinated dog of any age. Parvo is a virus that attacks the lining of the digestive system and prevents the dog from being able to properly absorb nutrients. Symptoms usually begin with a high fever, lethargy, depression and loss of appetite. Secondary symptoms appear as severe gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting and bloody diarrhea. In many cases, dehydration, shock or death can follow.

If you have a puppy, contact your veterinarian to receive the canine parvovirus vaccination series. Follow your veterinarian’s advice on the vaccination schedule. Adult dogs should receive the parvovirus vaccination as part of their yearly shot package. Treatment for the parvovirus can be very costly, so ensuring that your dog is vaccinated against the disease is extremely important. Dogs 4 months and older are required to be rabies vaccinated and licensed.

If your puppy or dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms of parvo, veterinary treatment is required. Help prevent the spread of parvo by keeping infected dogs isolated from all other dogs for at least one month after recovering, by cleaning up your dog’s stool, and by using a 1 part chlorine bleach to 30 parts hot water disinfectant on food and water bowls, bedding and on outdoor areas such as patios. If your pet is unvaccinated, do not take it to places where interaction with other dogs is likely.

Parvovirus is specific to dogs and is not transmitted to humans. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your dog and parvovirus, please consult your veterinarian.

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