This guest article is contributed by Thomas Villalpando (Content editor at ipetguides.com).
Parvovirus: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Pup
Parvovirus, one of the words not many dog owners want to hear about. Yet, it is one of the most fatal, if not the deadliest disease a dog can get.
This extremely contagious virus primarily affects puppies that are six weeks to six months old, so you need to be aware of what it is, how it affects your fur ball and how to prevent it from affecting your dog for good.
What Is Parvo?
Parvo (also known as CPV or Canine Parvovirus) is a virus that can affect both dogs and puppies, as well as other animals such as cats. However, parvovirus is the most contagious disease among dogs, and even with proper treatment, a dog diagnosed with parvo could die.
There are many different strains of the virus that affect pets in different ways. Some strains may not even cause symptoms at all, making them difficult to diagnose. Others can be much more dangerous for your pet to contract, especially if they’ve never been vaccinated before.
This highly contagious virus affects the cells of the intestinal tract, where your dog will fail to receive the vital nutrients and will become dehydrated and significantly weakened.
How Do Dogs Get Parvo?
The virus is transmitted when dogs lick, sniff or consume the feces of an infected dog. It can also contract through contaminated water bowls, collars, leashes, and through the clothes and hands of people who’ve recently handled an infected dog.
Dogs can get infected from each other or indirectly with infected food and other items. Once a dog becomes infected, it will usually become sick in three to ten days, but in some cases, it may become sick as soon as six hours after infection and then die within 48 to 72 hours.
Why Do Dogs Get Parvo?
Dogs are susceptible to get infected by parvovirus if they aren’t properly vaccinated. As mentioned before, puppies that are six weeks to six months old are the ones who are most in danger of this disease.
Puppies should be parvo vaccinated approximately at ages of 6, 8, 12 weeks of age. However, keep in mind that the puppy is still in danger of contracting parvo until they’ve received all three shots of their parvovirus vaccine.
After a year of completing all three of the puppies vaccination series, the puppy should receive an extra dose (Booster) of canine parvovirus vaccine. After this, all dogs need a booster every three years or more often.
The Symptoms Of Parvovirus
The symptoms of parvovirus are usually seen three to seven days after being exposed to the virus, and it can only get worse from there, so if you suspect any of these symptoms, consult your vet immediately:
- Bloody diarrhea, Profuse
- Weight loss
Keep in mind that all of these above symptoms should be taken seriously and should be informed to your vet immediately, even if it is not for parvo.
Things You Should Do If You Suspect Parvo In Your Dog
If you suspect your dog or puppy has parvo, you will want to contact your vet and let them know right away. Tell them the symptoms your puppy is experiencing. As mentioned earlier, a dog with parvo can probably pass away after 48 to 72 hours of showing any signs, so immediate attention is an absolute must.
The virus can spread much faster and easier. To prevent the disease from spreading to any other dogs, you should inform your vet’s staff so that they can arrange proper precautionary measures. Also, if you have more than one dog, make sure to get some advice from the vet on how to prevent it from spreading to them.
Are There Any Treatments For Parvo?
Sadly, when it comes to treatment, there is nothing to completely kill this virus. So instead, the vet will offer some other treatment which will include supporting the dog’s immune system to keep the dog fighting the disease.
While the treatment for parvo may vary based on the dog’s health and severity of the infection, some treatments for parvo include:
- Hospitalization and precise care by the veterinarian team.
- A variety of methods to hydrate your dog and rectify their electrolyte imbalances.
- Drugs to reduce vomiting.
- Antibiotics to prevent sepsis and treat secondary infections which occur due to weakened immune systems.
- Tube feeding until the dog is capable of eating without assistance.
- Antibiotics for low white blood cell count and high fever.
As you may know already, parvovirus is an extremely dangerous disease for dogs. However, as per reports, probably 90% of dogs are able to survive parvo with proper treatment.
Your dog will have to spend at least five days to a week in the hospital while recovering from parvo. Due to this, the treatments are often very expensive. Expect to spend at least $1000.
What’s not expensive is vaccinating your pup on time, so make sure you do that on time.
Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Parvo?
A lot of dogs catch parvo, but it’s preventable. Basically, the primary way to prevent your dog from getting parvo is to make sure that they are vaccinated and stay away from other dogs who have it.
Avoid getting into dog parks until your dog is fully vaccinated. If you want to dog train and socialize your puppy, join a reputable puppy training center where all the dogs who participate should be vaccinated at least once against parvo.
If you’ve already forgotten, puppies ideally should be parvo vaccinated at 6, 8, and 12 weeks old. A year after completing the vaccine series, a puppy will need an additional dose of canine parvovirus vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated.
A vaccine can provide excellent protection to your dog against parvovirus, and the chances are pretty much zero for a vaccinated puppy to contract parvo. Furthermore, even if a vaccinated dog gets parvo, its immune system will fight it much better than a dog without the vaccine.
However, we cannot assure that it is 100% effective, so it is crucial for your pup to get its booster shots every one to three years.