The Santa Barbara County Animal Services says there’s an uptick of cases of canine respiratory disease and parvovirus infection in the Santa Maria area.
Dog and puppy owners are advised to consult with their veterinarian to ensure their dogs are current on recommended vaccines. They can also get other information about how to keep their pets safe and healthy.
Canine parvovirus is an extremely infectious virus that is present year-round in the environment. This virus can cause very serious disease and death in dogs and puppies.
Symptoms of this disease include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite.
Puppies are at greatest risk of contracting the virus, as their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
“The chances of a dog or puppy becoming infected with parvovirus are greatly reduced with proper vaccination,” said Dr. Ginger White, director of shelter medicine for Santa Barbara County Animal Services.
“Not only can a simple vaccine potentially save your pet’s life, but it can save thousands of dollars in veterinary expenses and heartbreak for dog owners,” Dr. White said.
Because they are at higher risk for contracting parvovirus, puppies should be restricted from public outdoor areas until their vaccination series is completed at approximately 16 weeks of age. Most often, the parvovirus vaccine is combined with distemper virus and adenovirus type 2 vaccines, but this can vary.
Dogs with a higher risk for infectious respiratory diseases include those who are boarded or go to dog parks/beaches, group training, grooming, dog shows and group walks. It is recommended that these dogs be vaccinated.