Canine Parvo Virus is one of the leading killers of young, unvaccinated puppies. The parvo virus is a disease that affects the intestines, lymph nodes and bone marrow of dogs. While it is not necessarily a death sentence if diagnosed, if left untreated the mortality rate is 91%. There are vaccines against this terrible disease. Do you know what warning signs to look for in your puppy?
Most puppies are adopted between seven and nine weeks of age. Most of these puppies have not had any vaccines and are very susceptible to disease. The parvo virus is very contagious and unvaccinated dogs face the greatest risk of getting it.
The parvo virus is spread through fecal material and direct contact with an infected dog. The virus is very resilient and can lay dormant for long periods of time. If an infected dog is taken to a dog park and defecates in the grass it leaves a large amount of contaminate in the area. If you and your dog visit this same dog park a week later, the virus is still there ready to infect. All it takes is for your puppy to step in or sniff the contaminated area to run the risk of exposure.
There are many warning signs of the parvo disease. Many dogs displaying signs will have very loose, watery stools that usually contain blood in them. The dog will generally be very lethargic and often have a high fever. Most dogs have diarrhea and vomit frequently and therefore suffer from severe dehydration. Lack of appetite and thirst are often another symptom of the disease.
Treatment for the disease is very costly and time consuming. Your puppy would be admitted into the veterinary hospital and placed into isolation. They would place an I.V. (intravenous) catheter and begin fluids to rehydrate the dog. The dog will also be given medications to help stop the vomiting and diarrhea. Even with all of this care the dog may still succumb to the disease.
The best way to prevent the parvo virus is to vaccinate your dog. Most puppies start the series of vaccines at 8 weeks of age. The parvo vaccine is included in the DHLPPC vaccine and is generally boostered three times until the age of 16 weeks then it is given annually. See your veterinarian for more details about their vaccine protocol. Another way to prevent exposure is to keep your dog away from public dog parks and away from any unfamiliar or unvaccinated dog.
Please follow your veterinarian's vaccine protocol and keep your puppy safe. Nothing is as devastating as losing a puppy to this horrible disease.