SEATTLE – Everett and Mukilteo temporarily closed their off-leash dog areas this week because of growing concerns over the potentially deadly parvo virus. King County vets recently announced that they are seeing an alarming number of cases so far this year.
Doctor Cary Waterhouse, of Lake Union Veterinary Clinic, has not seen any recent cases, but he knows other vets are seeing them and he is getting call from concerned pet owners.
“We’re obviously telling them to watch out for any of the signs, the vomiting, the diarrhea, the stomach upset,” Waterhouse said. “Anything unusual that they would normally report to us, make sure they call us sooner rather than later so we can talk about possibilities.”
As a precaution, he is stocking up on parvo tests, which can diagnose the virus in minutes.
Waterhouse advises owners to make sure their dogs are up-to-date with the parvo vaccine, especially puppies, which can be especially vulnerable. Avoiding dog-to-dog contact at parks can help, but that is no guarantee.
“If you’re taking away the sources of contamination, then that’s one step,” Waterhouse said. “Unfortunately, this virus is everywhere.”
Jenna Montgomery, who owns a 12-year-old dog named Mack, learned about the increased parvo cases Thursday night. Her friend’s dog got the virus a few years ago.
“It was a pitbull mix and he was deathly ill and almost died,” she said. “So I definitely take it seriously.”
For adult dogs, the vaccine can last three to seven years, Waterhouse said.