If you have a dog in Seattle, you were probably freaked out by the news that adult dogs were getting parvo. I spoke with ACCES hospital manager Don Wirenga (ACCES was the hospital that recently reported an increase in parvo cases) about this issue.
He mentioned that the increase in cases was “significant, but it is not an epidemic.” The dogs who were sick were all treated and survived, and they seemed to have an incomplete vaccination history. So the vaccination probably would have protected them.
The good news is that it does not appear to be a new strain, although they are sending the culture out for testing. The number of cases has dropped back down to normal.
I asked him about puppy class recommendations and it does not seem to be different from what it always has been, so that is good news. His advice was to balance out the need for socialization with the need for health safety. The incubation period for parvo is usually 4-7 days but can be up to 12 days. So he recommends that you have your puppy for 12 days before starting classes, to be sure you are not bringing a sick dog into class.
At Ahimsa Dog Training we clean the floors nightly with a virucide that is effective against parvo and other things dogs can catch. Puppies are the first ones in, so the rooms are as clean as they can be for classes. Clean classrooms are “better than public high traffic areas” according to Wirenga, and I agree. Puppies must have at least 2 sets of vaccines for higher traffic areas (more for high risk breeds like rotties, pitties, dobes). But his rule of thumb was having your puppy for 12 days before class and at least the first set of shots.
Early socialization is critical to help puppies learn to avoid aggression, fear, and other issues, so even though it may seem safer to just keep your puppy at home through all sets of shots, it is not. Behavior issues are also a huge killer of dogs, so please be safe and balance socialization with medical safety.
I also spoke to Kara Main-Hester, Ph,D. at the Seattle Animal Shelter and she had this to say, “In general, Dr. Hopkins with Public Health hasnâ€™t seen a significant up-tick in the area, though itâ€™s not something that requires reporting. Honestly, people just need to vaccinate and keep their puppies out of dog parks.Â Puppy playgroups at facilities that have good cleaning protocols is the only safe way to introduce a less-than-fully vaccinated puppy to the world.”
For more info from ACCES is at http://www.criticalcarevets.com/blog/parvovirus-%E2%80%93-updateWritten by Grisha Stewart, Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle Tweet This Post!