Parvovirus is a contagious and life-threatening condition in dogs. Today, our Kinston vets share important facts you should know about parvovirus in dogs, including the signs and treatments available.
How Do Dogs Get Parvovirus?
Parvovirus can also be called parvo and it is a very contagious illness that results in severe gastrointestinal symptoms in puppies and dogs of all ages that aren't vaccinated.
Dogs can become infected by coming into contact with traces of feces from a dog that is already infected. A dog that is asymptomatic (or recently recovered from the virus) and exhibiting no symptoms at all can still easily spread the illness to other dogs.
Because of the extremely contagious nature of this illness, a human can unknowingly pass the virus to other dogs if they have been in contact with an infected dog just by touching them. Therefore, an innocent pat on the back could be the start of a severe condition.
Dogs can also become infected by sharing leashes, bedding, bowls, and toys with another infected pooch.
The Ways Parvovirus Attacks Your Dog's Body
Parvo can be characterized as a disease of the small intestines and stomach. This is where the virus starts to destroy the barrier of a dog's gut by blocking the absorption of essential nutrients and attacking healthy cells.
In puppies, Parvo also attacks the lymphopoietic tissues and bone marrow that are essential parts of your dog's immune system, then the virus often goes on to affect the heart.
Parvovirus in Puppies
During the first 6 weeks of their lives, puppies will inherit antibodies from the mother if she is fully vaccinated, which will help keep them from getting parvovirus.
However, when puppies turn 6 weeks old, their immune systems will begin to weaken making them susceptible to illness. This is why we encourage owners to start providing their puppies with their core vaccinations at 6 weeks old when they no longer have the antibodies their mother provided.
However, dogs require 3 shots in order to be protected against parvovirus and they won't have full protection until they have been given all 3 vaccinations.
Your puppy should receive their parvovirus shots when they are 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age. Having your puppy vaccinated is the best way to keep them protected against this contagious illness.
The Signs of Parvovirus
Is your dog showing any of the following symptoms of parvovirus? If so, they are already extremely sick. It's essential to call your vet immediately if your dog is showing any of the following symptoms of parvovirus:
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight loss
- Bloody diarrhea
How Is Parvovirus in Dogs Treated?
Parvo can't be cured, but, your vet will provide you with some supportive treatment options that can help manage some of your dog's symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting. It's also imperative for your pup's recovery that they stay hydrated and receive the proper nutrients.
Secondary infections are also common in dogs that have parvovirus because their immune systems are weakened. Your veterinarian will keep a watchful eye on your dog's condition and may prescribe a course of antibiotics to help combat any bacterial infections that may be developing.
How Long Does Parvovirus Last In Dogs?
If a veterinarian is treating your dog's condition and your pup survives the first four days after they have developed symptoms, they have a good chance of survival and making a full recovery from the disease. It takes dogs about a week to recover from parvovirus.
If your dog is diagnosed with canine parvovirus you will have to take the steps needed to isolate your dog and remember to always wash your hands extremely well after being around your pup.
How Can I Protect My Dog From Parvovirus?
Don't let your puppy go near other dogs that haven't received all of their parvovirus vaccinations. While socialization is an important part of your pup's development, it's imperative to know if the dogs your young pup is socializing with are completely vaccinated and aren't a threat to your pup's health.
You have to follow your veterinarian's advice carefully and get your puppy fully vaccinated against parvovirus, rabies, and other serious illnesses and diseases, following the recommended vaccination schedule for dogs in Kinston.