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Local News

Veterinarians Warn of Parvo Virus Outbreak

County officials advise dog owners to vaccinate their pets now

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is reporting a number of cases of parvovirus in dogs in the North County. Commonly known as parvo, it is a serious and often fatal disease that tends to affect puppies more frequently than adult dogs, although any dog can be at risk. The highest risk is to dogs that have not been vaccinated against the disease.

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.

Puppy owners are urged to contact their veterinarians to receive the canine parvo vaccination series. First shots should be administered at 6 weeks of age and continue every three to four weeks until the dog is 20 weeks old.

Adult dogs should receive the parvovirus vaccination as part of their yearly shot package. Treatment for parvo can be very costly, so the vaccinations are extremely important. Other vaccinations that should be given to all dogs are the rabies vaccine and the Bordetella vaccine. Rabies vaccinations are required by law for all dogs over the age of 4 months.

If your pet is unvaccinated, do not take it to places where interaction with other dogs is likely, as they could be contagious. Parvo is specific to dogs and is not transmitted to humans or pets of a different species, such as cats.

Noozhawk staff writer Laurie Jervis can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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