Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious, a viral disease that can lead to death.
You can protect your dog from this disease by having your dog vaccinated.
At six weeks of age, a pup is dewormed by the vet.
At eight weeks of age, the pup is given the first of a series of vaccines. The next shots are given every two weeks thereafter.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in Puppy Vaccines 101: Which Shots Does my Puppy Need and When? In Jeffers site, said the core puppy vaccines that are considered necessary to give your pup are that for DISTEMPER, HEPATITIS, HEPATITIS, PARVOVIRUS, PARAINFLUENZA, AND RABIES.
The 5-in-1 vaccine takes care of parvovirus, canine distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), and parainfluenza.
An anti-rabies shot is given separately.
“The (parvo) virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems, “ said the American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals (ASPCA).
The symptoms are:
· Severe vomiting
· Loss of appetite
· Bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration
When you observe any of these symptoms in your dog, please bring him or her to the vet immediately.
· This disease is highly contagious and can be transmitted through the poop of a parvo-infected dog. It can be transmitted to any person, animal or object who/that has come into contact with an infected dog’s poop.
· The virus can be present in the environment for months. Worse, it can survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors.
· Dogs who are not vaccinated against parvovirus can easily be infected if they walk on the streets or go to parks, specially in urban areas where there are a lot of dogs.
Dogs Prone to Parvovirus
· Pups, adolescent dogs and dogs who are not vaccinated can be infected.
· Breeds at high risk are Labrador retrievers, Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, American Staffordshire terriers, and German shepherds.
· Ensure your dog’s vaccination is given as scheduled by your vet. “Parvovirus should be considered a core vaccine for all puppies and adult dogs,” ASPCA said.
· The series of the first vaccine usually starts at 6-8 weeks of age. Every year thereafter, a booster shot is given.
· “Older dogs who have not received full puppy vaccination series may be susceptible to parvovirus and should also receive at least one immunization,” ASPCA said.
It added: “Because parvovirus can live in an environment for months, take extra care if there has been an infected dog in your house or yard. Parvo is resistant to many typical disinfectants and can be difficult to eradicate.”
Here is a guide from ASPCA:
· Prepare a solution of one part bleach to 32 parts water if organic material is not present.
· Make sure you clean and disinfect the infected dog’s toys, food dish and water bowl in the solution for 10 minutes. If the objects cannot be disinfected due to the material, please throw or discard the object.
· The solution can be used to disinfect the soles of your shoes if you suspect you have walked through an infected area.
· Spray areas that are harder to clean (grassy areas, carpeting, and wood, for example) with disinfectant. Some owners removed the carpet and wood to ensure the other dogs will not be infected.Treatment
· At present, there are no drugs that can kill the virus. “Treatment consists of aggressive supportive care to control the symptoms and boost your dog’s immune system,” ASPCA said.
· “Dogs infected with parvovirus need intensive treatment in a veterinary hospital, where they will receive antibiotics to control secondary infections, drugs to control the vomiting, intravenous fluids to treat dehydration and other supportive therapies,” ASPCA said.
· The hospital stay can be from 5-7 days.
· “Treatment is not always successful, so it is important to make sure your dog is vaccinated,” ASPCA said.
When to See the Vet
ASPCA reiterated that parvovirus is “often fatal.”
“If you notice your dog experiencing severe vomiting, loss of appetite, depression or bloody diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately,“ it said.
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