Canine Parvovirus, or Parvo, can occur in older dogs but it is most common in puppies that have not yet been vaccinated. CPV is a highly contagious viral infection that can be spread by any person, animal or object has had contact with animal waste.
When puppies are born, they receive antibodies from their mothers. These antibodies help protect the puppies from the disease, but only for a short amount of time. Immunity begins to wear off before the puppies immune systems have a chance to develop, leaving them weak and vulnerable to the virus. If a puppy is younger than 4 months old, they have an increased risk of contracting the disease, which can be fatal if not detected and treated on time. When puppies are vaccinated they receive a 5 in 1 vaccination that protects them from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parvo influenza. We will go into greater detail about each of these in a follow up article.
Puppies are not the only ones at risk, older dogs are at risk as well. This being the case, it’s important your dog receives his yearly check- up from your veterinarian. Prevention is key when it comes to keeping both puppies, and dogs, healthy.
Dogs purchased from pet stores, adopted from animal shelters, or bought from breeders, are also at an increased risk of catching Parvovirus. These dogs are often kept in overcrowded situations which means they may come in contact with an animal that carries the disease. These dogs are often kept in conditions that are unsanitary, which means they might be stepping in waste, sleeping in it, or even eating it.
Certain breeds of dogs are also at a higher risk of catching Parvovirus. These breeds include the following: Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Labrador retrievers, American Staffordshire terriers and German shepherds. It’s not necessary to avoid these breeds altogether, just know that they face an increase risked of becoming ill.
The Parvovirus is able to manifest itself in one of two ways. The first will put a dog into intestinal distress, causing vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and then weight loss. This is the most common form of the disease. The lesser form of Parvovirus is the cardiac virus that attacks the heart. This is the most common form, and the most deadly, as it attacks the hearts of young puppies. It is usually first noticed when a puppy is about six weeks of age.
Parvovirus is diagnosed with a physical examination, blood work or a urine test. A low white blood cell count is a good sign that a puppy has Parvovirus and treatment can be started almost immediately.
There is no cure for Parvovrius, treatment is based on curing symptoms and preventing a secondary infection from occurring. Your puppy or dog will be hospitalized for treatment and if necessary, given fluids to offset any dehydration that happened before he or she was diagnosed.
The survival rate for dogs is around 70%. However it is much lower for puppies due to their weakened immune systems. Even after treatment your puppy or dog will still have a weak immune system. This could leave him or her susceptible to other illness they come into contact with.
One way to prevent Parvovirus is to keep your yard free from dog waste. Schedule a regular yard cleanup with pet waste removal service such as Arrowhead Pooper Scoopers of Peoria, Arizona. Call them at 602-391-0160 or visit poopremoval.com for a free dog waste removal quote.