Canine Parvovirus is Here
Canine parvovirus is an extremely contagious viral disease transmitted through the fecal material of affected dogs. We have discussed it before, but considering the number of cases already diagnosed this summer, now is the perfect time for a refresher course.
A dog picks up this virus by consuming contaminated organic material or even licking/chewing inanimate objects such as shoes, clothing and toys that the virus has come into contact with. This virus can unfortunately persist in the environment under a number of conditions because it’s resistant to many common household disinfectants.
The primary signs of canine parvovirus in our pets involve the gastrointestinal tract and include decreased to absent appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and weakness. Affected animals can become very sick, very quickly, due to dehydration from their gastrointestinal signs. The good news though is that this virus is easily diagnosed through a special test that most veterinary offices perform on site. In addition to the parvovirus test, more testing such as blood work, x- rays and
fecal examination may be in order to rule out concurrent diseases and or assess for more severe complications of the virus (including low blood sugar and blood infections!).
Parvovirus can be treated, however it relies on early detection and intervention. Treatment is aimed at supportive care to hydrate the pet, control his or her nausea and resolve their diarrhea. Treatment is not always successful, especially later in the disease course, so time is of the up most importance. When the first signs are noted, usually a change in appetite, a pet should be evaluated immediately; especially unvaccinated pets and puppies. Dogs with parvovirus must be isolated from other animals because of how highly contagious this disease is for other pets who are also unvaccinated.
The most commonly affected dogs are puppies who have not completed their vaccine series, or adult dogs who have never been vaccinated. Luckily, parvovirus IS A PREVENTABLE DISEASE through appropriate vaccination! Beginning around 8 weeks of age, all puppies should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks up until 16 weeks of age through your local veterinary office. One vaccine is not enough to keep puppies protected! Additionally, it is important the facility that is providing the vaccine is handling the vaccine appropriately in order to ensure efficacy. Puppies should never be allowed in public areas where other unvaccinated dogs may roam, until
they are fully vaccinated.
Again, parvovirus is a potentially fatal disease that can be prevented through appropriate vaccination. Please ensure your pets are up to date on vaccinations as it may save their life!