Possible Parvo outbreak in Puget Sound has dog owners worried

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Dog owners in Puget Sound are worried about an outbreak of the deadly canine parvovirus.  The cities of Everett and Mukilteo closed municipal off-leash dog parks this week after reports of dogs getting sick.  Concerned dog owner Cheryl Campbell of Mukilteo immediately called her veterinarian, Thomas Koenig, in Everett, for more information.

“Dog stool in this rainy weather can be contagious for six months,” Koenig said. “Dogs without vaccinations could be the problem. Get your dog vaccinated if you aren’t sure if it’s been done.” He added that he was not aware of a big outbreak but that there had been a spike in reported cases of the virus in the Seattle area.

Charlie Powell of the Washington State Veterinary Medicine Association says “It’s important to note that parvovirus is in the environment all the time and that outbreaks occur sporadically.  Unvaccinated dogs are at risk, but some dogs who have the vaccine may not even be able to fight it. There is no way to avoid the risk of catching parvo, but you can keep your dog out of kennels and boarding facilities where parvovirus has been present.”

While dogs can survive parvovirus is it is very hard on them, especially puppies.  It is also very difficult to control or eliminate.  “There is no way to tell whether the virus is at the park two weeks from now. It’s like saying we can control the common cold,” Powell said. “You can vaccinate, sanitize water dishes and living areas and quarantine sick animals, but that’s about it.”

Dog owners can reduce risk by ensuring vaccines are up to date, avoiding areas known or suspected to be contaminated with the virus, and carefully controlling who their dogs play with during the outbreak.  “It was scary to hear about the outbreak,” said Jim Drake, of Edmonds. “But we verified that our dogs are vaccinated. That’s about all you can do. We were willing to come out to the park today because we knew that not a lot of dogs would be here.”

If you suspect that your dog maybe sick, don’t put off a trip to the vet as early detection could help save your dogs life.

5 thoughts on “Possible Parvo outbreak in Puget Sound has dog owners worried”

  1. I live in the Seattle area and for a supposed “eco-conscious” community, I see plenty of dogs at the parks without updated dog tags, so I can only imagine that they are not up-to-date with their vaccinations. Not to mention – people – dog parks are for the outside care and exercise of your dog. They are NOT for having your dog run amuck and unsupervised because you are ignoring your dog by making cell phone calls or texting or being chatty Kathys with the other dog owners. If you want to socialize, go to Starbucks. Use the dog park responsibly and exercise common sense, otherwise, don’t go!

  2. my vet had said one time that it wasn’t needed in our area…..to vaccinate ? will do now, although I do not go to dogs parks that often, better safe than sorry <3 People do not clean up after themselves or their dogs… I'm disgusted every time I walk my dog…..And he is a sniffer, sniff here, sniff there, everywhere a sniff sniff…..drives me nuts….now having to worry bout the parvo…DEADLY~~~~~~

    • Anonymous, are you sure your vet said it wasn’t necessary to vaccinate against Parvo? Or did they maybe say some types of worms? Because I know that there are things like heartworm and stuff that we don’t necessarily need to vaccinate against up here, but Parvo should always be administered up here. I would definitely recommend getting your dog updated with that if you haven’t already! 🙂

  3. Parvo is only dangerous to very young dogs that haven’t been vaccinated, and older dogs whose immune system may be compromised may be at risk. Adult dogs that have been vaccinated against it in their lifetime many times are immune, but care should still be taken when coming in contact with a dog that has parvo. I fostered a young dog several years ago that had it–We had a house full of dogs of all ages and NONE became ill. While the dog did thankfully survive, it cost the rescue about $7000–It is as close to death as a dog can get and not die, but sadly many do. I limit the vaccines for all my dogs, but this is one they get, no matter what their risk may or may not be.

  4. Don’t forget anytime you vaccinate your dog against a virus they shed that virus from the vaccine for about 2 weeks after being vaccinated. which also means the vaccine hasn’t had time to fully work with your dogs immune system until then. So don’t think that it’s okay to go to a dog park etc. right after getting your dog vaccinated.
    And please, please educate yourselves and pick up after your dog. Poop spreads disease 🙂


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