Dog park closes with virus outbreak
Mukilteo’s dog park closed temporarily last week due to an outbreak of a canine virus in the area.
Parvovirus is highly contagious and can be deadly for young dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and lethargy.
An outbreak of the virus prompted the city to close the off-leash dog park on Thursday. It re-opened on Friday. Notices have been posted at the dog park and at Lighthouse Park and 92nd Street Park warning about the parvovirus.
Mukilteo officials closed the dog park as a precaution, while more information on the parvo outbreak was gathered, said City Administrator Joe Hannan.
“We are still researching how serious this might be,” Hannan said. “There are suggestions that warning notices to dog owners regarding vaccinations may be the most reasonable response.”
Other cities in Snohomish County, including Everett, also closed their off-leash dog parks. There have been unconfirmed reports of dogs becoming ill after visiting an Everett dog park, Hannan said.
Dr. John Crockett of Mukilteo Veterinary Hospital said he was not aware of an outbreak of parvovirus in Snohomish County. He hasn’t seen a case of parvo in Mukilteo for a long, long time.
In Seattle, however, there has been a spike in the number of reported cases – including some young dogs that had been vaccinated.
“It’s too early to know if this is a new mutant strain of parvovirus or if these dogs are not immunocompetent, meaning their immune system is not working properly,” Crockett said. “We may not know that for awhile.”
Hannan said the city initially closed the dog park and prohibited dogs at other parks “for a minimum of two weeks or until further notice,” but later decided that notices are enough to warn dog owners.
Parvovirus spreads easily and can live in untreated areas for a long time.
The virus can contaminate the ground, feeding dishes, collars, leashes and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs.
“It’s a serious, serious viral illness especially in young puppies that aren’t fully vaccinated or in older immune suppressed patients,” Crockett said.
Crockett said he isn’t too worried, and that dog owners shouldn’t worry either. However, he advises they check with a veterinarian that their pets are vaccinated and keep them away from areas where dogs congregate, such as parks, shows and kennels.
“Until we know more, that’s probably a prudent thing to do,” he said.
Notices in Mukilteo share this warning: “There have been reports recently that canine parvovirus may have affected some dogs in this area.”
“The most effective way to protect your dog from becoming infected… is to follow your veterinarian’s vaccination protocol and to limit exposure to dogs that are obviously showing signs of illness.”
The parvovirus notices are at:
• Tails and Trails Dog Park, 1301 Mukilteo Blvd.
• Mukilteo Lighthouse Park, 609 Front St.
• 92nd Street Park, 4800 92nd St. S.W.
For more information on the virus, contact your local veterinarian. Go to www.ci.mukilteo.wa.us or call 425-263-8000 for more on the recent park closures and/or notices.