Age Sex And Breed Are Part Of An Animals History Canine Parvovirus

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Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus (parvo) is a specific kind of virus that attacks the intestinal tract of dogs (it does not affect humans or cats). Parvo can pose a deadly threat to an unvaccinated dog or puppy. Parvo is extremely hardy; it can survive sweltering heat and sub-zero temperatures for long periods of time. The most common route of exposure to this virus is contact with the feces of an infected dog; however, because the virus is so strong, it is possible that people’s shoes and/or clothing can also transmit the virus. The most important fact about canine parvovirus is that it can be prevented!

An unvaccinated dog that ingests the virus is likely to get the disease. Ingestion occurs when a dog licks or eats something that contains the virus. Dogs of both sexes and all breeds or ages can become infected with the parvovirus, although Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers are more susceptible to the virus than other breeds.

Because parvo is so easily spread, unvaccinated dogs that are more likely to be exposed to the feces of other dogs (e.g., in parks, dog shelters, pet stores, kennels, etc.) are at greater risk. Puppies are at particular risk of serious illness (or possible death) because their immune systems can’t handle the effects of the illness. Puppies under the age of five months are the hardest hit – and also the most difficult to treat. Parvovirus is more commonly seen in puppies with unvaccinated mothers and in puppies from unclean environments (puppy mills) infected with the disease.

Physical manifestation of parvo generally occurs within 5-7 days of ingestion of the virus. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet, call your vet immediately. He/she will examine your pet and perform clinical tests to determine the cause of these signs of gastrointestinal disease:

o vomiting and severe diarrhea (sometimes with blood);

o Depression;

o Loss of appetite;

o High fever (104°F-106°F)

At this time, there is no way to kill parvovirus in dogs. However, symptom treatment is available to manage the physical signs/complications of the disease, including intravenous fluids to reduce dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in your pet. Antibiotics can also be used to control secondary infections. Your vet will also likely give your pet medication to control vomiting and diarrhea. Puppies with parvovirus are generally hospitalized — isolated from other animals — until they recover. It is imperative that you take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect a parvovirus infection. Any delay can significantly reduce your pet’s chance of survival.

Most vets recommend multiple parvovirus vaccinations for your growing puppy to build protective immunity, which can reduce the risk of the disease. After your dog has been vaccinated, booster shots can help maintain your pet’s immunity. Prevention is key – vaccinate your pet against this harmful and potentially deadly disease!

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