'Very Deadly but Easily Preventable' - An article written by Dr. Caris Taylor
If you have a puppy (or are considering getting a puppy) one of the diseases that you may or may not be aware of is Parvovirus. We sadly see a number of puppies that become very sick and die with parvovirus every year.
What is parvovirus?
Parvo or parvovirus is a serious, highly contagious disease caused by a virus that commonly affects young, unvaccinated puppies. It can also affect older dogs.
A dog can become infected by coming into contact with the faeces or vomit of an infected dog or through the environment in contaminated soil. Parvovirus is a hardy virus, it can live for many months in the environment and can also be transmitted through contaminated hands, clothing or footwear.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of parvovirus develop 7-10 days after exposure. An infected dog will be lethargic, not wanting to eat or drink, and will be vomiting. Diarrhea will usually develop after a few days which can become bloody and profuse. The dog will become very unwell quickly from the dehydration through vomiting and diarrhea. They are also susceptible to getting a secondary bacterial infection in their blood.
What is the treatment?
Unfortunately there is no antidote for parvovirus. Treatment involves correcting dehydration with intravenous fluids, administering antibiotics, and anti-nausea medication to help ease the vomiting. Treatment can become very costly as some puppies may take a long time to recover. Even with intensive care, these dogs can still sadly die, especially the very young puppies.
How can I prevent my puppy from getting parvo?
The good news is that there is a highly effective vaccine that can protect against parvovirus. The best protection is to get your puppy vaccinated and complete the full course of the vaccinations, with the last vaccine being at 16 weeks of age. It is important to keep in mind that your puppy will not be fully protected until it has completed its full vaccine course. So keep your puppy secure on your property until then, and do not allow them to be in contact with other unvaccinated puppies or unvaccinated dogs.