Parvovirus is a highly contagious and serious virus that can spread between dogs through contact with infected dogs or contaminated objects like toys or bedding. It poses a greater risk to puppies. Our vets at Franklin share insights on the transmission of parvovirus and ways to prevent its spread.
How is canine parvovirus spread?
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes extreme gastrointestinal symptoms in puppies and unvaccinated dogs of all ages. The virus is spread through traces of feces from infected dogs.
Dogs are able to spread this infectious virus in the days before they exhibit symptoms, as well as if they have recently recovered. Asymptomatic infection is possible and even dogs who do not display symptoms can still pass along the virus.
People who are in contact with dogs who have parvovirus can unknowingly spread it to other dogs. Some other common sources of contamination are leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding.
How does parvovirus attack your dog's body?
Dogs can be vulnerable to Parvovirus, which specifically targets their stomach and small intestines. This virus can wreak havoc on a dog's gut barrier by damaging healthy cells and hindering the absorption of crucial nutrients.
In puppies, parvo also attacks the bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues which play essential roles in your dog's immune system. It can sometimes affect the heart as well.
Why are puppies susceptible to parvo?
If the mother is fully vaccinated against parvovirus the puppies will inherit antibodies from the mother and will have parvovirus immunity for about the first 6 weeks of their lives.
However, as the puppies begin to wean, their immune systems weaken and the young pups become susceptible to the disease.
This is why vets urge pet parents to begin vaccinating their puppy against parvo at 6 weeks old when the antibodies from their mother are no longer available to protect them.
It isn't until a young dog has received all 3 of the recommended parvovirus vaccines that they will be protected against the disease. It is during the gap between weaning and full vaccination that puppies are most likely to catch parvovirus.
What are the symptoms of parvovirus in a dog?
It is crucial to note that when your dog starts exhibiting symptoms, they may already be seriously ill. If you observe any of the indicators below, please contact your veterinarian without delay:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight loss
Treatment for Parvovirus in Dogs
Although there is no cure for parvovirus in dogs, your veterinarian can provide supportive treatments to manage symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Ensuring that your pup receives proper hydration and nutrition is crucial for their recovery from parvovirus.
Puppies with parvo are susceptible to secondary infections due to their weakened immune systems, so your vet will closely monitor your puppy's condition and may prescribe antibiotics to combat any bacterial infections that could arise.
If a veterinarian is treating your four-legged friend and survives the first four days after symptoms appear, there is a good chance that your pup will recover from the disease. It typically takes about a week for dogs to recover from Parvo.
If your dog is diagnosed with canine parvovirus it is essential to take steps to isolate your dog from other animals and always wash your hands thoroughly after being near your dog.
How can I prevent parvo?
To safeguard your pup from the dangerous parvovirus, it's imperative to get them vaccinated. However, until your furry friend receives full vaccination, it's advisable to restrict their interaction with dogs who haven't been fully vaccinated against parvo.
While socialization is crucial for young dogs, it's equally important to ensure that the dogs your puppy interacts with are fully vaccinated and don't pose any health risks for your pup.
Consult your veterinarian to determine the most effective way to protect your new furry friend. It's crucial to follow the vet's recommendations and get your dog vaccinated against parvo, rabies, and other potentially life-threatening illnesses as per the suggested vaccination schedule in your area.