Pervasive Parvovirus Outbreak Represents Dire Threat To Morongo Valley Dogs

YUCCA VALLEY— Dogs throughout the Morongo Valley are in mortal risk, as a general outbreak of parvovirus nationally has made its way into the local community.
Health officials say there have been 32 cases of parvovirus in the basin. Officials said this is the most pervasive waive of the canine virus locally in memory. Approximately ten of the pets that contracted the disease have died so far.
Parvo is an aggressive virus that attacks a dog’s immune system, taking root in the digestive system before it wreaks extensive and life-threatening damage to the animal. It is most serious in puppies, whose immune systems are not developed. But it can be devastating as well in older dogs that are not vaccinated. Parvo can live outside of a host for several months. It has no appreciable impact on humans, who have a lower body temperature than dogs. It can be warded off through vaccination. Vaccination consists of a shot administered typically to a puppy and then supplemented with subsequent booster shots.
It is recommended that the owners of any dogs not yet vaccinated secure immunization for their pets. Adult dogs should be vaccinated every three years. It is further recommended that dogs not vaccinated be kept away from dog parks. An unvaccinated dog can contract the disease by merely coming into contact with the environment where an infected dog was present, including where the droppings or vomit of an infected dog are present. Moreover, the contagion can be spread by humans who unwittingly pick up the virus on the soles of their shoes and then track it into their homes or yards.
Coyotes, which are indigenous to the Morongo Basin, can carry the virus.
Home vaccination of dogs is possible but not recommended as the handling of the vaccine, the temperature and conditions under which it is stored and the administration of the shots must be done appropriately.

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