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Parvo kills

General survived parvo but was never the same afterward.
General survived parvo but was never the same afterward.
Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D.

Parvo. The very word spreads dread through a dog person’s bones. Parvo virus is a very contagious disease that can kill a dog in as little as two days. It can be prevented, however. The vaccine, given yearly, does a very good job of protecting a dog from this killer.

Parvo attacks the gastrointestinal tract in dogs and other canines, such as coyotes. The lining of the intestines sloughs off, causing diarrhea, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, and death. Usually, the first sign is bloody diarrhea. If your dog vomits blood or has bloody stools, rush him to your veterinarian. If the dog is treated immediately with antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and fluids to prevent dehydration, he may survive. Since these things must be given intravenously, the dog will be in the hospital for a while. Further, even if the dog survives, they may be mentally challenged for the rest of their lives.

Parvo can live outside the body for a long time. It can live in the soil, on dog toys, in bedding, everywhere an infected dog went. For this reason, the premises must be thoroughly disinfected before another dog is allowed in. Bleach will kill parvo, but not much else works. However, it is very important to clean the premises so another dog does not get sick.

Prevention of parvo comes down to two things: vaccination and avoidance. Puppies should avoid dog parks, walking where there are lots of dogs, and other possible sites for infection until their vaccinations are finished at around four months of age. Adult dogs should be vaccinated yearly and avoid places where known ill dogs have been.

It has become fashionable to decry the over vaccination of dogs. While it may be true that older dogs who primarily stay inside can manage without vaccinations, younger dogs cannot. Parvo kills. When it doesn’t kill, it mentally stunts the dog. The dog you had before the infection is not the same as the dog you have after parvo. Do not risk this disease. Vaccinate on the schedule your veterinarian tells you.

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