Often called just “parvo”, canine parvovirus is one of the most contagious and serious of diseases faced by dogs. It’s particularly serious among puppies, which can have as high as a 50% mortality rate.
How does a dog get parvo? Canine parvovirus is spread when a dog comes into contact with an infected dog or an area contaminated with the feces of the infected dog. The virus can remain infectious in contaminated areas for 5 months or more.
Good news about parvo It’s preventable. Parvo is a virus that can be prevented by vaccinating puppies and adult dogs. You should start your puppy at around 6-8 weeks of age, followed by booster shots every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is 16-18 weeks old. Because parvo is spread easily from an infected dog to an unvaccinated dog, it’s best to avoid dog parks and other areas with lots of unknown dogs until your puppy finishes his vaccination regimen. Adult dogs should get booster shots every year. The parvo vaccine is in the distemper combo vaccine.
Symptoms Parvo exhibits some fairly significant symptoms. • Change in appetite • Lethargy • Vomiting • Fever • Abdominal discomfort • Dehydration • Extremely frequent, severe or bloody diarrhea
Treatment If the worst happens and your pet contracts canine parvovirus, immediate treatment is critical and the only way to save your pet. Severely affected pets will need to be hospitalized and undergo intensive treatment, including: • IV fluids • Adjustment of electrolyte levels • IV Antibiotics • Antinausea and antidiarrheal medicine to reduce symptoms and avoid dehydration • Intensive medical supervision