Parvovirus is a fatal virus that spreads through contact with infected canines or exposure to contaminated objects. Our veterinarians in Oakwood can equip you with the knowledge for safeguarding the health of your pet.
The Spread of Parvo
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that primarily affects unvaccinated dogs and puppies, causing severe gastrointestinal symptoms. The virus spreads through contact with infected dog feces. Notably, dogs who are infected but show no symptoms, as well as those with symptoms or recently recovered, can transmit Parvovirus.
The contagious nature of the disease is alarming, as individuals who unknowingly come into contact with an infected dog can inadvertently transmit the virus to puppies and other dogs through simple physical contact, such as a gentle pat on the head. This highlights the potential for a loving gesture to become the catalyst for a life-threatening illness.
In addition to direct contact, other common sources of contamination include leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding.
The peak seasons for Parvovirus in Arizona are summer and fall. If you have a young puppy be sure to contact your vet immediately if your dog shows symptoms of Parvo.
How Parvovirus Attacks 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, then the virus will often affect the heart.
Why Puppies Are Susceptible to Parvo
When the mother is fully vaccinated against Parvo, her antibodies are passed on to the puppies, offering protection against the virus for the first six weeks of their lives. However, as the puppies start weaning around six weeks old, their immune systems gradually weaken, making them vulnerable to the disease.
Veterinarians strongly recommend initiating Parvo vaccination for puppies at six weeks of age, coinciding with the weaning process when the maternal antibodies no longer shield them. It's important to note that complete protection against Parvo is achieved only after the puppy has received all three Parvo vaccinations.
During the period between weaning and full vaccination, puppies are most susceptible to contracting Parvo. Therefore, it is crucial for your puppy's well-being, as well as the health of other dogs in your household, to ensure they receive the Parvo vaccines at six, eight, and twelve weeks of age. Vaccinating your puppy against Parvovirus is one of the most effective measures you can take as a responsible pet parent to safeguard their health.
Symptoms of Parvo
It is essential to understand that once your puppy begins showing symptoms they are already very ill. If you notice that your puppy is displaying any of the following symptoms contact your vet immediately.
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight loss
- Bloody diarrhea
Treatment for Parvovirus in Dogs
Although there is no specific cure for Parvo in puppies, our veterinarians can provide supportive treatments to address symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Ensuring adequate hydration and nutrition is crucial for your puppy's recovery from Parvovirus.
Due to the weakened immune systems of puppies with Parvo, they are prone to secondary infections. Your veterinarian will closely monitor your puppy's condition and may prescribe antibiotics to combat any bacterial infections that may arise.
If your puppy receives veterinary treatment and survives the initial four days after symptoms appear, the chances of recovery from the disease are generally good. Typically, it takes about a week for dogs to fully recover from Parvo.
In the case of a Canine Parvovirus diagnosis, it is essential to isolate your puppy from other animals and practice thorough hand washing after being near your young dog to prevent spreading the virus.
Never allow your puppy to spend time around dogs that have not been fully vaccinated against Parvovirus. 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.
Be sure to follow your vet's advice and have your puppy vaccinated against Parvo, rabies and other potentially serious conditions based on a puppy vaccination schedule for your area.