Parvo is a term that still spreads fear among dog owners and veterinary staff alike. This is because Parvovirus is still a killer. It is caused by a virus and is highly contagious. While it mainly affects unvaccinated dogs and puppies under a year of age, it can affect any dog. Parvo is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and dryness, so it can infect susceptible dogs at any time of the year. It can actually survive in contaminated environments for up to a year and is resistant to most disinfectants.
The symptoms of Parvo include lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea. Untreated dogs with Parvo generally succumb to dehydration. Damage to the intestines and immune system can also cause septic shock. Successful treatment usually requires hospitalization with intravenous fluiding. Anti-nausea and anti-diarrheal medications are given as are antibiotics. While antibiotics cannot kill the Parvo virus, they can prevent other infections that arise due to the immunosuppressive effects of the virus.
The best approach to this devastating disease is prevention. This can be accomplished by practicing good hygiene and by vaccinating your dogs. Don’t allow young dogs or those that are not fully vaccinated to mingle with other dogs of unknown vaccination status. Don’t take puppies to dog parks. If you are in contact with dogs, wash your hands thoroughly and change clothes before handling your own dogs or those of friends or neighbors.
Puppies should be vaccinated at eight weeks, twelve weeks and sixteen weeks. Dogs are then vaccinated a year after their puppyhood series and thereafter at three year intervals. If your pup receives all three puppy vaccines at a veterinary hospital, the vaccine manufacturers generally guarantee their product. If your pup acquires Parvo after all three vaccinations, they will pay for any treatment required. The same guarantee applies to all future vaccinations if kept current and performed by a licensed veterinarian.
If your dog is unvaccinated or behind on its vaccinations, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. It could be a matter of life or death. Don’t forget, Parvovirus is still a killer!
Kanab Veterinary Hospital is happy to provide vaccinations and you can make your appointment from our services page: http://kanabvet.com/our-services/
To learn more about Parvovirus, check out the FAQ on the American Veterinarian Medical Association website: https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/canine-parvovirus-type-2c-faq