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Increase in Parvovirus Cases Calls for Vigilance

The greater Seattle area has been seeing a greater than usual number of cases of the potentially deadly canine disease this fall.

Perhaps a death after a recent Pet Expo at the Puyallup Fairgrounds was a predictive event, but no matter where the increase was first noted, Parvo — referred to by many as the "puppy-killer" — appears to be on the rise throughout the area.

Back in early November, one of the dogs that attended a pet expo in Puyallup earlier this month died of Parvovirus, according to the America's Family Pet Expo’s Facebook page.

The world’s largest pet and pet product expo was held at the Puyallup Fair & Events Center on Nov. 3 and 4.

Many other Puget Sound areas have reported increasing numbers of dogs becoming ill with the virus, which attacks the lining of the digestive system, causing severe fever, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets, including due to the increasing incidence of the illness. Young dogs that haven't received their full three doses of vaccinations are particularly vulnerable, though an increased number of cases have been reported in fully vaccinated animals as well.

Local pet owners have reported no Parvovirus at Mercer Island parks, but the public is asked to stay vigilant because the highly contagious, and wet winter conditions facilitates spread of the disease, which is spread mainly by contact with the feces of infected dogs — whether directly or if it comes home on your shoes, for example. It can take 7-10 days from exposure for a pet to become ill, and treatment can be very expensive, the Seattle Times reports.

Mercer Island has two off-leash areas in local parks: Luther Burbank Park, north of the parks administration building, and Wildwood Park. Dogs must be leashed or under signal or voice control in all other park properties, and officials ask that dog feces be removed immediately.

Mercer Island has four veterinarians to chose from if your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms or isn't yet vaccinated:

Veterinarians

  • Home Pet Vet 3024 78th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 206-232-6205 
  • Mercer Island Veterinary Clinic 2448 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 206-232-0333
  • Olympic Veterinary 9311 SE 36th St, Mercer Island, WA 98040 206-722-3777
  • Mercyvet 2705 76th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040 206-232-7667

If you're not sure your dog's vaccinations are up to date, check with your veterinarian, and if your dog is at risk, you might want to avoid dog parks.

The recommendation for parvovirus vaccinations (CPV) is at 8, 12, and about 16 weeks of age for puppies; a booster at one year; and boosters every three years thereafter.

The website WorkingDogs.com offers additional information on the disease, and effective ways to combat its spread.

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