Santa Barbara County Animal Services has reported an “alarmingly high number” of Parvovirus cases in North County dogs. According to a statement from the department, the Santa Maria Animal Center alone reported five cases in the last two weeks. “Of great concern this year are a number of animal owners that have been refusing treatment and taking sick dogs home from veterinary offices,” the statement reads. It also explains 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.
Parvovirus is most commonly seen in young puppies, but it can affect an unvaccinated dog of any age. It is not transmitted to humans. The virus 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,” the Animal Services statement reads. “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 insuring that your dog is vaccinated against the disease is extremely important. Dogs four months and older are required to be rabies vaccinated and licensed.”