Parvovirus Outbreak

Authorities Strongly Encourage Canine Vaccinations

Santa Barbara County Animal Services has reported a number of parvovirus cases in the northern areas of the county.

Parvovirus is a serious and sometimes deadly canine disease that attacks the lining of the digestive system and prevents affected dogs from properly absorbing nutrients. Its preliminary symptoms include high fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If untreated, parvovirus can quickly progress and cause severe gastrointestinal distress including vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, dehydration, shock, and death can follow.

Although all dogs are susceptible to parvovirus, puppies are at a significantly higher risk of contracting the disease. Parvovirus cannot spread to humans or any other animal species, including cats.

In order to curb the spread of this recent outbreak, Santa Barbara’s Public Health Department strongly encourages puppy owners to contact their veterinarian and schedule an appointment for their pet to receive the canine parvovirus vaccination series. First shots should be administered at six weeks of age and should continue every three to four weeks until the dog is 20 weeks old. It is recommended that adult dogs receive the parvovirus vaccination as part of their yearly shot package.

The Health Department also stated in a recent press release that, in order to contain the outbreak, infected dogs should be kept isolated from other dogs for at least a month after recovering. Dog owners are also encouraged to clean up their animal’s feces and to sterilize their animals’ food and water bowls and bedding using a solution of one part chlorine bleach to 30 parts water [corrected].

If you have any questions, or think your dog or puppy may have contracted parvovirus, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Tyler Hayden is an Independent intern.

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