Parvo is an easily transmitted disease as it can be spread from asymptomatic dogs through contaminated bowls and toys and in some dogs, it can be life-threatening. Below, our Clinton Township vets talk about the dangers of parvovirus in dogs, along with the symptoms, treatment and how it can be prevented.
How Parvovirus Makes Its Way Around
Parvovirus in dogs commonly affects the gastrointestinal tract causing various uncomfortable symptoms. The virus is spread through traces of feces from infected dogs. Parvo can be easily transmitted as it is spread by dogs both showing and not showing symptoms as well as those who have recently recovered from parvovirus.
The disease is so infectious that a person who has unknowingly been in contact with an infected dog can pass the virus on to puppies and other dogs simply through touch. Meaning that a loving pat on the head could become the start of a life-threatening illness.
Other common sources of contamination are leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding. The peak seasons for Parvovirus are summer and fall. If you have a young puppy be sure to contact your vet immediately if your dog shows symptoms of Parvo.
The Effect of Parvovirus on Your Dog's Body
Parvo is considered a disease of the stomach and small intestines. It is here that the virus begins destroying the dog's gut barrier by attacking healthy cells and blocking the absorption of essential nutrients.
In puppies, Parvo also attacks the bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues which play essential roles in your dog's immune system, and then the virus will often affect the heart.
Why Parvovirus is Dangerous For Puppies
Puppies are typically protected during the first 6 weeks of their life thanks to the antibodies that pass from the mother during feeding.
Once the puppies begin to reach 6 weeks of age their immune system begins to weaken as they begin to wean from the mother.
Vets urge pet parents to begin vaccinating their puppy against Parvo at 6 weeks of age when the puppy begins to wean and the antibodies from the mother are no longer available to protect the puppy.
However, it isn't until the young dog has received all 3 Parvo vaccinations that they will be protected against the disease. It is during the gap between weaning and full vaccination that puppies are most likely to catch Parvo.
Dog vaccinations are crucial for protection against Parvovirus and other serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Please reach out to your vet to schedule dog and cat vaccinations and booster shots yearly.
The Typical Symptoms of Parvovirus in Dogs
One thing that is important to note is that the visible symptoms of Parvo usually don't appear until the condition is already quite advanced. If you notice that your puppy is displaying any of the following symptoms contact your vet immediately.
- Bloody diarrhea
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight loss
The Treatment Options For Dog Parvovirus
There is no cure for Parvo in puppies, however, your vet will offer supportive treatments to address symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. It is essential that your pup gets adequate hydration and nutrition in order to recover from Parvovirus.
If your puppy develops parvo then your vet will continuously monitor their condition offering treatment options for the symptoms that your pup experiences.
If your four-legged friend is being treated by a veterinarian and survives the first four days after symptoms appear, there is a good chance that your puppy will recover from the disease. It typically takes about a week for dogs to recover from Parvo.
Preventive Care For Dogs
If you have a puppy who is too young for vaccinations the first thing you can do to help protect them is to never let them spend any time around unvaccinated dogs. While socialization is essential for young dogs it is important to know that the dogs that your puppy spends time with are fully vaccinated and do not pose a health risk to your pup. Talk to your vet about how best to protect your new four-legged family member.
Follow your vet's direction and ensure that your dog is fully vaccinated to help protect them and other animals against a number fo serious and potentially life-threatening diseases and conditions.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.