Dog owners worried, angry

EVERETT — An outbreak of canine parvovirus in the Puget Sound region has some local dog owners nervous and angry.

Parvovirus is highly contagious, can be deadly for young dogs and can live in unsanitized areas for a long time. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and lethargy. There have been unconfirmed reports of dogs becoming ill after visiting an Everett dog park, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.

After the cities of Everett and Mukilteo closed municipal off-leash dog parks this week, Cheryl Campbell of Mukilteo immediately called her veterinarian, Thomas Koenig, in Everett, for more information.

Campbell’s beagles are up-to-date in all of their vaccines, she was assured.

“My vet said the virus can stay in dirt for very long time, so I am keeping my dogs out of the off-leash parks as long as I can,” Campbell said. “I am so angry with people who bring sick dogs to public places. If you choose not to vaccinate, you not only are putting your dog at risk, but also hundreds of other dogs.”

Koenig said he was not aware of an outbreak of parvovirus in Snohomish County. In Seattle, however, there has been a spike in the number of reported cases.

“Dog stool in this rainy weather can be contagious for six months,” Koenig said. “Dogs without vaccinations could be the problem. Get your dog vaccinated if you aren’t sure if it’s been done.”

At the Washington State Veterinary Medicine Association office in Pullman, people are keeping an eye on the King County outbreak.

“It’s important to note that parvovirus is in the environment all the time and that outbreaks occur sporadically,” association spokesman Charlie Powell said. “Unvaccinated dogs are at risk, but some dogs who have the vaccine may not even be able to fight it. There is no way to avoid the risk of catching parvo, but you can keep your dog out of kennels and boarding facilities where parvovirus has been present.”

Powell was unwilling to criticize cities such as Everett for closing its three off-leash dog parks.

“However, there is no way to tell whether the virus is at the park two weeks from now. It’s like saying we can control the common cold,” Powell said. “You can vaccinate, sanitize water dishes and living areas and quarantine sick animals, but that’s about it.”

Everett officials are keeping dog parks closed until further notice, while information on the parvo outbreak is gathered, Reardon said.

At the off-leash dog park along the beach in Edmonds on Friday, Jim and Anna Drake let their dogs Bix and Lennie run in the rain and wind.

“It was scary to hear about the outbreak,” said Jim Drake, of Edmonds. “But we verified that our dogs are vaccinated. That’s about all you can do. We were willing to come out to the park today because we knew that not a lot of dogs would be here.”

Colt Mace, also of Edmonds, said he is not worried about his dog, Alpha.

“He’s vaccinated and he is old,” Mace said. “Where I come from in Eastern Oregon, parvo is just part of nature. You take your dog home and nurse him back to health.”

Powell, of the veterinary association, said dogs can survive parvovirus, “but it’s really hard on them.”

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
A local connection to history

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson remembers The Post’s Katharine Graham, who visited several times.

Most Read