When the worst case situation for a dog owners life comes to mind I can think of only one thing, Parvo. In short order a dog may go from happy and lively to deathly ill. Not to say that parvo if properly informed cannot be avoided it is truly something that every owner and breeder needs to know about. What do I do if I think my dog has it? How do I prevent it? And what are the risks?
What Exactly is Parvo?
Parvo is a virus that’s highly contagious, its known as a GI Disease in dogs and puppies and if its not treated right away will usually result in a fatality.
The ease at which it spreads is the most deadly thing about parvo, it can be spread through direct contact or through feces that can remain active for up to a year in the right conditions. Doge begin being contagious three or four days after being infected and remain contagious for up to ten days after the last symptoms leave. Quarantine is essential for successful treatment and stopping the spread of this killer.
Will my Dog catch parvo? What Dogs are most likely to catch Parvo?
As with most diseases in humans viruses have a tendency to hit the young first, puppies under a year that aren’t vaccinated or under vaccinated are most at risk. As are certain breeds such as Amstaffs, Dobermans, German Shepards and Rottweilers.
As with most mammals puppies are born with antibodies from the mother, as these slowly fade as weaning begins there is a chance for parvo to strike. Proper vaccination is key and should not be skipped, make sure your vaccinating for parvo!
So what Causes Parvo?
Parvo is caused by a virus called Canine Parvovirus, it is spread through a number of ways the top two being direct contact through nose and mouth to infected feces. New puppies are always checking out their environment, sniffing and licking everything in sight. if a puppy licks or sniffs a surface that has been contaminated with parvo from another dog it can lead to a quick infection.
The second easiest way for your puppy or dog to contract parvo is through secondary contact, either with an item or article of clothing that has come into contact with the virus. Being a really tough bugger, parvo can live for up to three months indoors at room temps. Cleanup is very important and what you use is as important as how often you use it as parvo is resilient and can withstand many household cleaners. Straight bleach will do the trick and is one of the few things that can kill it. Even outside in the right conditions parvo can live for over a year if not in direct sunlight.
Always bleach any items that come into contact with an infected animal and clean everything thoroughly after dealing with this resilient killer.
Symptoms of Parvo in your Dog.
- Bloody Diarrhea (Often quite severe)
- Lack of energy or Lethargy.
- General Malaise or Discomfort.
- Vomiting (A lot…)
- Quick Weight Loss.
- Having little to no Appetite.
For more information on if your puppy or dog has Parvo check our article on Does my Puppy Have Parvovirus?
Treatment Options for Parvo.
If you think your animal may have this virus it is imperative that you get him or her to a vet immediately. Parvo can be fatal and rather quickly to boot, this virus requires intensive care and treatment. Your vet will most likely recommend hospitalization for your animal and this can be very costly to the tune of a few hundred to a few thousand. This covers care, medicine, space on an isolation ward and care for secondary infection.
Though you may attempt to care for your dog at home the survival rate goes down with home care and drops to almost nothing with no care at all. A dog left to figure it out on their own has little to no chance to survive.
See our page Welcome to ParvovirusHelp.Com for info on my story of home treatment with our puppy Sadie.
How to Prevent Parvo.
The Parvo virus is preventable but nothing is 100% preventable al the time. Getting your dog vaccinated is the best way to start, make sure they get their shots (Series of three) at six to eight weeks then again at ten to twelve weeks and again at fourteen to sixteen weeks. Then a booster after a year and another after three years.
If your puppy goes unvaccinated do not expose them to any other dogs, not at a park or at the vet or boarding facilities. I know everyone wants to see your new puppy and your super proud, but keep them safe until they get their shots. Unvaccinated puppies can be in contact with fully vaccinated adult dogs in your home but make sure you know who they are and don’t take unnecessary risks.
Having a firm understanding of how parvo works and how it is spread is the first step in prevention, and remember if you suspect that your puppy may have parvo get them help immediately