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To help combat a recent surge in King County of parvovirus, a sometimes deadly canine disease, a Woodinville animal shelter will be offering free vaccinations Thursday.

The Homeward Pet Adoptions Center at 13132 N.E. 177th Place will administer parvo combination vaccines from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a veterinarian on staff.

The center’s executive director, Terri Inglis,  said vaccinations at clinics usually cost about $20-$25 plus the cost of the office visit. Inglis said that although over-the-counter vaccines pet owners can administer themselves are just as effective, it’s safer to for a pet to be immunized near a veterinarian in case the pet had a bad reaction.

Parvo spreads easily to unvaccinated dogs and can live for as long as six months in dirt, feeding dishes, collars, leashes or anything else dogs can shed the virus onto. Infected dogs can also shed the virus for up to six months. One close whiff or lick of an infected area can give a dog bloody diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration, Inglis said.

Vaccinated adult dogs should be completely immune to the outbreak, but puppies younger than 6 months should be kept away from any potentially infected areas. Inglis said puppies often need to be vaccinated twice to get complete immunity.

“There’s no cure for parvo, and for puppies, it can be a death sentence,” Inglis said. Her shelter has quarantined and nurtured puppies that have survived the virus, though.

Everett has temporarily closed three dog parks in response the parvo outbreak, and several other communities have started putting out warnings.

The Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services (ACCES) clinic issued an alert  last month about the spike in cases. According to the clinic, which has offices in Renton and Seattle, its veterinarians have seen almost double the number of parvo cases they usually see in a year. Since 2003, the average number of parvo cases the clinic treats a year is 16, but this year its vets have treated at least 28 cases.