El Paso area veterinarians are warning pet owners about a new canine distemper strain and parvo virus outbreak.Veterinarians are alarmed over the worst outbreak in the El Paso County in years.  The areas include Horizon, Northeast, Upper Valley, and Central, as well as El Paso Animal Services and the Humane Society of El Paso.  All areas are at risk because many dogs are not vaccinated for the preventable diseases.  The new strains are much more virulent because dogs' immune systems do not respond to them as effectively as the older strains.  The incubation period is longer--3-4 weeks and up to four months instead of 7-10 days.  Dozens of dogs of all ages have died, and vets are warning pet owners to get their dogs and puppies vaccinated immediately.

Symptoms include lethargy, nasal or eye discharges, vomiting, diarrhea, high temperatures and muscle tremors.  Cats and humans are not affected, but it is very contagious among ferrets and is often fatal.  If you see any of these signs, please see your veterinarian immediately.  This can be prevented with the proper shots.  Don't let your four-legged friend suffer.

Teresa Provencio