Pet Parvo Awareness
Puppies are vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses if they’re not vaccinated, and canine parvovirus is one of the most dangerous. When your new puppy has been weaned from their mother and is just starting out in life, their immune system is not able to properly defend them from disease. This makes your pet’s initial vaccinations very important, as they set the stage for their future and long-term protection.
What is Parvo?
Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) is a contagious virus that attacks the body’s white blood cells and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It affects dogs, puppies (usually those under 4 months old), wolves, foxes and coyotes. Parvo can live on surfaces such as kennel floors and walls, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and a person’s hands and clothing. It is primarily spread by contact with these surfaces, including dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces.
The virus can also be spread around quickly if it happens to be on shoes, animal cages or on the fur and/or feet of dogs.
Symptoms of Infection
The sooner you can detect signs of parvo infection in your pet, the better. This may include:
- A loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Low body temperature or fever
- Severe (and bloody) diarrhea
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you see any of these symptoms. If your veterinarian is unavailable, bring your pet to us. With early detection, your pet has a much greater chance of recovering from this virus.
There is no treatment dedicated to eradicating parvovirus. Treatment generally involves supporting your pet’s body systems with fluid therapy, replenishment of electrolytes and proteins, antibiotics, and control of vomiting and diarrhea until their immune system can take over.
To spare your pet from this life-threatening illness, prevention is the best medicine. Puppies between 6-8 weeks old should begin receiving their first vaccinations to protect them from parvovirus and other diseases. Furthermore, if you suspect you’ve come into contact with a contaminated animal or surface, wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect surfaces that may be harboring the virus. Wash contaminated clothes, collars, leashes, toys, etc. or anything else that may have come into contact with the virus or an infected animal.