Deadly dog virus surging in Santa Barbara County

Oct 16, 2014

Credit ASPCA

A virus that is deadly for dogs is becoming a growing problem in the Santa Maria area this October.

Stacy Silva with Santa Barbara County Animal Services says the parvovirus often peaks in the fall, but this year's outbreak seems to be larger and more widespread. Dogs infected with the virus are showing up throughout the Santa Maria valley from the far north end at Priesker Park to the southern reaches in Orcutt.

"I do think there is cause for pet owners to be concerned and, not that we want to cause panic, but to take responsible precautions to protect their dogs from this virus, because it can be deadly," said Silva.

Some of the signs of parvovirus include lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, and severe, often bloody, diarrhea, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and most deaths from parvovirus occur within two to three days following the onset of signs.

There is a vaccine available to help protect against Parvo. Silva says the disease is spread through feces... and can lay dormant on a property for up to two years. Dogs infected with parvo have the best chance of survival... if the disease is caught early and treatment is started right away.