Brewster City Council addresses canine parvovirus options

BREWSTER – When Brewster city council member John Housden learned how easy it is for one dog to spread the highly contagious parvovirus to another dog, he decided to bring the issue before his fellow council members to see if the city should take steps to reduce the risk of transmission. Accordingly, at the first council Go To meeting of the year January 20, Housden outlined his concerns. He explained that the highly transmittable virus can infect a dog that visits an area where an infected dog has been previously.

“Parvo is very deadly to dogs,” said Housden. “You get a new puppy and take it to the vet and the required shots are a parvo and the rabies.”

Mayor Art Smyth noted that parvo “runs rampant in the City of Brewster.”

Council member Jan May asked if the parvo vaccination requirement was common in most cities out of her concern for adding an unnecessary burden on Brewster dog owners.

The city council agreed to consider a proposal requiring that all dogs licensed in Brewster show proof of vaccination for the parvovirus. Housden and Smyth clarified that the intent of the proposal at that time was to research the issue further and, with the assistance of city attorney Chuck Zimmerman, provide more information for council members to consider for a later vote on the matter.

Subsequent council research into canine parvo revealed that no other city in Washington state requires the vaccination as a precondition to acquire a dog license. Based on that consensus the Brewster council decided at its regular monthly meeting Feb. 16 to forego parvo shots as a licensing prerequisite in favor of a public information effort to urge city residents to voluntarily get their dog treated.

Sources at the Brewster Veterinary Clinic located just outside the city limits said most of their clients who bring puppies in for appointments agree to the parvo shots along with the state mandated rabies vaccination. For full coverage a puppy needs a parvo shot at eight weeks of age, again at 12 weeks, and a third 16 weeks. After that an annual shot protects an adult dog.

According to the website parvo is an extremely contagious and resilient virus that affects dogs worldwide and equates to somewhere between the flu and Ebola in humans. The glaring difference between flu in humans and parvo in dogs is that a healthy human who comes down with the flu usually recovers in a couple of weeks whereas a healthy dog that contracts parvo succumbs to the virus about 90 percent of the time if not treated.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that humans cannot catch canine parvo because the canine parvovirus (CPV) cannot replicate in a human host. There is a form of human parvovirus called Parvovirus B19.


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