Parvovirus In Dogs What Every Dog Parent Needs To Know
Posted on March 27 2019
If you are expecting a new pup in particular or just a pup lover in general, it is always better to have more knowledge on some of the most dangerous but preventable diseases that may happen upon your pup. Today, let us learn more about one of such cases, the Parvovirus.
Parvo is indeed the worst nightmare that can happen to a pup owner. After all, in just a matter of days, your previously perfectly healthy pup will just go from incredibly active and playful to fatally sick. However, despite all of its scary symptoms, Parvovirus is, in fact, preventable if the pup owners can be aware of the risks, the way to prevent Parvo, as well as the proper procedure to perform when the pup does indeed contract it.
What is Parvo?
What we call Parvo is, in fact, a virus that has a highly contagious nature. This virus can cause an illness that we call infectious gastrointestinal (GI) in the bodies of young pups. As you can imagine, failure of treatment for GI will undoubtedly lead to a deadly consequence.
A part that has made this virus to be so dangerous is that it is not difficult for the virus to reach the canine population. It can easily spread either through feces or direct contact with any dog that was infected. After being exposed, a pup will start shedding this virus in a span of four or five days. This phase is often operating before the pup begins to show any clinical signs of infection. The virus shredding phase will continue throughout the timespan that the dog was sick and even last as long as 10 days after he was cured. Due to this fact, an accurate diagnosis, as well as quarantine, is really needed, not just for your pup’s health but also for the others.
The most likely recipient of Parvovirus
The kinds of pups that are the most likely to contract Parvovirus are those that are anywhere between six weeks and six months old, incompletely vaccinated or even completely unvaccinated. Even though scientists still cannot figure out the reason, American Staffordshire Terriers, English Springer Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and German Shepherd Dogs have a higher chance of getting the virus.
Puppies are always born with a sufficient antibodies amount from the mothers. However, when these antibodies fade away, it is completely up to their owners to get a course of parvovirus vaccinations for the pup. The weaning stress, as well as any secondary infection or parasite alongside parvo, may lead to a much more severe case of parvovirus.
The cause of Parvo in pups
As we all know by now, it is the canine parvovirus that causes parvo in pups, and that virus can be transmitted through two ways. Firstly, it can be transmitted by direct contact through the mouth and nose with the infected feces. This case usually happens when a pup licks or sniffs a surface that was already contaminated with the poop of another pup. As we all know, pups really love to explore the world by smell and mouthing things, so it really is easy for a pup to contract parvo just by being curious.
There is also another method of transmission, which is through indirect contact. The Parvovirus can, in fact, survive in the environment, on the skin of human, equipment, clothing. Thus, when a pup makes direct contact with a contaminated environment, object, or person, they will be indirectly transmitted.
This virus is, in fact, quite a resilient one, as it can actually survive at the very least two months indoors in room temp. In addition, it is also resistant to a lot of the commonly used disinfectants and cleaners. When it is outdoor, the virus can survive even up to years if it is protected from sunlight directly. This is the reason quarantine of any infected pup, as well as environmental cleanup, is quite important.
Shoes that have touched infected poop will undoubtedly bring the parvovirus in the pup’s environment, which is quite concerning as there has been evidence pointing to parvovirus being able to survive in ground soil for up to a year. If you believe that you have stepped on poop, then you need to wash the area with bleach.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of Parvo:
- Weight loss
- Severe and bloody diarrhea
The moment you detect any or all of these, you need to call your vet immediately. Even if the cause is not Parvo, they can still be the result of some other illness that needs attention from a vet.
Parvovirus is potentially quite a fatal virus which needs intensive care. Thus, the sooner the pup is diagnosed, the better it is. In most cases, your vet will recommend that your pup should be hospitalized in an isolated ward, where it will be cared for and monitored for any sign of secondary infections.
Depending on the level of severity, the vet may also prescribe some medications like antibiotics to make sure that the bacterial infections will not enter your pup’s body from the intestines’ damaged walls. Parvo can also lower the cell count of the white blood cell, so it will reduce your pup’s capability to fight the infection. The vet will be able to supply the pup with medication, supportive nutrition, and fluids that can hopefully save his life. This is why taking your pup to the vet is the best choice.
Parvo is preventable. However, not even vaccinated pups are completely protected. Vaccines for this virus is usually recommended to be given in three shots in the timeframes of 6-to-8 weeks old, 10-to-12 weeks, and 14-to-16 weeks. A booster will be given one year later and then every 3 years.
Unvaccinated pups, as well as incompletely vaccinated ones, shouldn’t be exposed to the unvaccinated pups or environments that the unvaccinated dogs may have introduced parvovirus. Remember that while it is tempting to carry your pup with you everywhere, its health is dependent on being kept safe until the pup is fully vaccinated against this fatal virus.