What you need to know about Parvo Virus?
Parvo Virus is one of the “Core” Vaccinations recommended by the AAHA. Parvo can affect dogs of all ages, but is far more common in young puppies, especially those unvaccinated or still in their vaccine series.
How is Parvo Virus virus spread?
The disease is very easily spread and highly contagious. It is spread by oral contact with infected feces – or anything that the infected feces may have come into contact with, such as a dog’s hair and feet – and even on crates, shoes and other objects. When the dog licks the infected fecal material, or anything that came into contact with the infected matter, the disease is passed on. Parvo virus is also a very stable virus meaning it can be difficult to kill in the environment it has contaminated. This makes it a continued threat to dogs exposed as long as it survives in the environment.
What are some signs of Parvo Virus?
Parvo has an incubation period which typically lasts four to five days. Following this, sickness begins with depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. While some dogs have no fever, others can have a very high fever. Diarrhea is often serious, and contains mucus and/or blood. This causes rapid dehydration and lethargy.
How is Parvo Virus treated?
Unless the scale of the infection is minor, puppies with Parvo need intensive medical treatment. Hospitalization and intravenous fluids are needed to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Medications are used to control vomiting and diarrhea to allow the puppy to get the nutrition it needs. It is also important to know that Parvo virus can target the cells of the bone marrow important in fighting off infections. As a result, very severe cases may require blood plasma transfusions and other intensive care. Antibiotics are also prescribed to prevent septicemia and other bacterial complications, which are the usual cause of death.
The outcome depends on how aggressive the strain of parvovirus, the age and overall health of the dog, and how quickly the treatment is started. Most pups who are under good veterinary care recover without complications.
Published by Murrayhill Veterinary Hospital, Your AAHA Accredited Beaverton Pet Hospital.