Canine parvovirus (often called parvo) is a highly contagious viral infection that can be fatal in pups and dogs. It is spread by any animal or anything that comes into contact with the excrement of an infected dog. Unvaccinated puppies, adolescent dogs, and adult dogs are in danger of catching the virus. Protecting your puppy or dog against parvovirus could mean the difference between life and death.
Parvovirus symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and bloating fever or low body temperature, vomiting, and severe, often bloody diarrhea. Consistent vomiting and diarrhea can result in fast dehydration, and intestinal and immune system damage can result in septic shock.
Natick vets suggest that If your canine exhibits these symptoms, you should immediately call your veterinarian. The majority of parvovirus deaths occur within 48 to 72 hours of the onset of clinical symptoms.
Diagnosis and Therapy
Parvovirus infection is frequently suspected based on the history, physical examination, and laboratory testing performed on the dog. Fecal testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
There is no specific therapy available that will eradicate the virus from affected dogs, and treatment is meant to support the dog’s body systems until the dog’s immune system can fight the viral infection. Treatment should begin quickly and focus on rehydrating the patient by restoring electrolytes, protein, and fluid losses, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, and preventing secondary infections.
Sick dogs need to be kept warm and given proper nursing care. When a dog contracts parvovirus, therapy can be prohibitively expensive, and the dog may succumb despite aggressive treatment. Early detection and aggressive treatment are critical for a positive outcome. Survival rates can exceed 90% with good care. If you don’t have a vet on your phonebook, just look up “vet surgery near me”
Due to the high contagiousness of parvovirus, it is vital to isolate affected dogs to prevent infection spread. Cleaning and disinfecting contaminated kennels and other facilities where diseased dogs are (or have been) housed properly. Because the virus is difficult to eradicate, visit your veterinarian for specific recommendations on cleaning and disinfection products.
Vaccination and proper cleanliness are key preventative measures. Young puppies are particularly susceptible to infection, as the natural immunity provided by their mothers’ milk may wear off before the puppies’ immune systems learn more sufficiently to combat infection. If a puppy is exposed to canine parvovirus during this time period of decreased defense, it may develop the illness.
Additionally, the immunity conferred by mother’s milk may obstruct a successful vaccination response. This means that even fully vaccinated puppies may contract parvovirus and develop sickness occasionally. A series of puppy vaccinations are delivered throughout the first few months of life to close protection gaps and provide protection against parvovirus. Puppies should be vaccinated against canine parvovirus around 14 to 16 weeks of age, regardless of previous vaccinations.
To protect their adult dogs against parvovirus infection, pet owners should ensure that their dog’s parvovirus immunization is current. While titers are available to determine a dog’s level of antibodies against canine parvovirus, the antibody level does not always convert into protection when the dog is exposed to the virus. Consult your veterinarian for a preventative program that is advised for your dog.
The phrase “parvo,” which stands for parvovirus, is enough to send shivers down your spine. This highly contagious illness is infamous for rapidly transforming a previously healthy puppy who was showering you with stinky puppy breath kisses and playing one day into an almost or fatally ill puppy in a matter of days. Fortunately, this sickness in dogs is avoidable and treatable if found early.