Dogs

Parvovirus in dogs

All you need to know to protect your dog from Parvovirus

All you need to know to protect your dog from Parvovirus

Parvo disease is the worst nightmare of every dog owner. Within days, a perfectly healthy puppy can pass from fun and energetic to a fatal disease. Therefore, all owners and breeders of new puppies must be aware of the dangers of parvovirus in dogs, how to prevent it, and what to do if the pup is infected with the parvovirus.

What is parvovirus in dogs and what is its risk?

  • Parvo is a highly contagious virus. It causes gastro-intestinal disease in puppies and small dogs, and without treatment it can be fatal
  • Merck Veterinary Manual classifies the virus as a disease of the stomach and small intestine, where the virus causes the most damage.
  • Serious viruses such as parvovirus weaken the puppy’s immune system and reduce the number of white blood cells, which reduces its ability to fight secondary bacterial infections.
  • The virus prefers to infect the small intestine, as it destroys cells, impairs absorption, and disrupts the intestine barrier.
  • Parvo disease also affects the bone marrow and lymph tissue, and in some cases, it can also affect the heart
  • Your veterinarian may place your puppy on an antibiotic treatment to combat these bacterial infections, and he will carefully monitor your puppy for additional complications.

What are the forms of Parvo disease in dogs?

Parvovirus in dogs is a highly contagious viral disease that affects dogs. The virus manifests itself in two different forms.

  1. Intestinal form: It is the most common, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and anorexia.
  2. Cardiac form: it is less common, and it attacks the heart muscles of fetuses and very small puppies, which often leads to sudden death of the dog

Parvo diseaseHow does the parvovirus in dogs spread?Parvovirus in dogs

  • What makes the virus most dangerous is the ease with which it can spread to dogs.
  • The virus spreads either by:
  1. Direct contact through the nose and mouth with an infected dog
  2. By feces, which can occur when a dog smells or licks a surface or other dog stained with feces. Why do dogs eat poop?
  1. As puppies explore their world through smell, it is easy to see how a small puppy can become infected with the virus
  2. Indirect contact. parvo can live on clothing, equipment and human skin. Indirect transmission of a virus occurs when the puppy comes into contact with a contaminated person, object or environment

How long are puppies still contagious for Parvo disease?Parvovirus in dogs

  • An infected dog can begin spreading the infection of parvovirus in dogs to other dogs 4 to 5 days after exposure – often before the dog begins to show any clinical signs of infection.
  • The dog will continue to be infected with the virus for 10 days after recovery. This means that accurate diagnosis and quarantine are necessary for the health of the dog and other dogs as well
  • Parvovirus is a particularly flexible virus. It can survive indoors at room temperature for at least two months and is resistant to many commonly used detergents and disinfectants.
  • Outdoors, the Parvovirus can last for months, even years, if protected from direct sunlight. This is why hospital quarantine is so important for infected dogs and environmentally friendly cleaning

What are the symptoms of Parvovirus in dogs?Parvovirus in dogs

Every dog ​​owner and breeder should know the symptoms of Parvo disease. Among the most common symptoms are:

  • Lethargy
  • Severe fatigue and general weakness
  • Anorexia
  • Abdominal pain and bloating.
  • Fever or hypothermia
  • Vomiting. And often bloody and bloody diarrhea.
  • Vomiting and persistent diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestine and immune system may result in shock What causes diarrhea in dogs??

Any or all these symptoms are worth contacting your veterinarian. Even if Parvo is not the cause, the symptoms may be caused by another disease requiring veterinary care

Who are more likely to develop parvo disease infection:Parvovirus in dogs

  • Small dogs between six weeks and six months
  • Non-immunized or fully immunized dogs are most at risk of developing parvovirus in dogs
  • Some dog breeds are more susceptible to infection with the Parvovirus, although scientists are not entirely sure why these dog breeds are at a higher risk than others and these chains are as:
  1. Shepherd Dogs
  2. Rottweilers
  3. Doberman Pinschers
  4. English Springer Spaniels
  5. American Staffordshire Terrier

Why do small puppies get parvovirus in dogs?

  • Puppies between six weeks and six months are at greater risk of infection with the virus that causes Parvo disease.
  • Puppies younger than six weeks old still retain some of their mother’s antibodies, assuming that the mother has received a full series of Parvo vaccines.
  • Puppies are vaccinated against Parvo at about 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age. They are more susceptible to disease until they receive all three doses in their vaccination series, which means owners need to take extra precautions during this time to prevent puppies from getting the virus.
  • Puppies should receive a dose of the Small Dog Virus vaccine between 14 and 16 weeks, regardless of the number of doses they received earlier, to develop adequate protection.
  • Shoes that have come into contact with infected stools can transmit the virus to the dog’s environment, which is worrisome as there is evidence that parvo can live in the soil for up to a year. If you suspect that you have ever contacted stool, you will need to wash the affected area with a home bleach (chlorine), one of the few antiseptics known to kill the virus.

What should I do if my dog ​​gets parvo disease?Parvovirus in dogs

  • If you suspect your dog has Parvo, it needs immediate veterinary care.
  • Parvovirus in dogs is a deadly virus and requires intensive care, and the sooner dogs are diagnosed, is the better.
  • Your vet will likely recommend that your dog be hospitalized in the isolation ward, where he will provide supportive care and your dog will be monitored for a secondary infection
  • Depending on the severity of the condition, your vet may prescribe a series of medications, including antibiotics, to prevent bacterial infections from infecting your dog through damaged bowel walls.
  • To make matters worse, Parvo also reduces the dog’s ability to fight infection by reducing the number of white blood cells.
  • The vet will provide your dog with the supportive fluids, nutrition, and medications that we hope will save his life, which is why taking your dog to the vet is the best thing you can do for him.
  • Most puppies who survive from the first 3 to 4 days will fully recover, which usually takes about one week.
  • Your veterinarian will guide you through the process of rescuing your dog and design a treatment plan that best suits your puppy’s needs.

Can Parvovirus in dogs be treated?

    • Since Parvo disease is caused by a viral infection, there is no real cure for it. But Parvovirus therapy focuses on treating symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections, preferably in a hospital setting.
  • Intravenous fluids and diet therapy are critical to maintaining the dog’s natural fluid content after severe diarrhea and dehydration. Protein and carbohydrate levels will be monitored and organized as necessary.
  • Medicines that veterinarians may use to treat parvovirus infected dogs include antiemetic drugs, antacids, antigastritis, antibiotics and veterinary antiseptics to fight parasites. Treating ticks and fleas in dogs
  • Dogs have a survival rate of about 70% when treating in a veterinary hospital, but death may be caused by severe dehydration, severe secondary bacterial infection, bacterial toxins in the blood, or severe intestinal bleeding.
  • Prognosis is lower for puppies, because they have a less developed immune system. Unfortunately, it is common for a parvovirus puppy to experience shock and sudden death.

How to take care of your dog after treatment of Parvo disease?

  •  Even after your dog has recovered from the parvovirus, it will still have a weak immune system for some time and be susceptible to other diseases. A high-quality, easily digestible diet is best for your dog while recovering.

Choose the right food for your dog

What is the proper way to feed my dog??

  • Your dog will remain contagious and able to transfer the Parvo virus to other dogs for at least two months after its initial recovery. You will need to isolate your dog from other dogs for this period of time, and you may want to tell neighbors who have dogs that they need to test them.
  •  If you need to clean an area contaminated with the parvovirus, first dispose of all organic matter and it should be disposed  safely (vomiting, stool, etc.), then wash the area thoroughly with a concentrated bleach solution, chlorine is one of the few known antiseptics to kill the virus .
  • Wash all things your dog uses (for example, dishes, litterbox, doghouse, dog toys, bedding). It is best to wash these items in a dishwasher or washing machine and put the mattress in the dryer.
  • Everything else should be thoroughly cleaned with a concentrated bleach solution as recommended by the vet. This includes your clothes, shoes, and anything else that may have come into contact with your dog or infectious substances.
  • If your dog has parvovirus at home, it is best not to have a puppy in this house for several years. Parvovirus in dogs is very infectious and does not want to put any other dog at risk.

What is the Parvovirus in dog’s vaccination program?

The most important dog vaccination

  • Small pups are susceptible to infection, especially because the natural immunity provided in their mothers ‘milk may fade before the puppies’ immune systems become mature enough to fight the infection.
  • If a puppy is exposed to parvovirus during this protection gap, he may become ill.
  • An additional concern is that the immunity provided by breast milk may interfere with an effective response to vaccination. This means that even puppies may occasionally get infected with Parvovirus
  • To reduce protection gaps and provide the best protection against Parvo disease in the first few months of life, a series of puppy vaccines are given.
  • Puppies should receive a dose of the Small Dog Virus vaccine between 14 and 16 weeks, regardless of the number of doses they received earlier, to develop adequate protection.

Parvovirus vaccine is recommended for all small pups and is usually given in a series of three doses:

  1. When the puppy is between 6 to 8 weeks old,
  2. And again in 10 to 12 weeks,
  3. In 14 to 16 weeks.
    • A booster dose is given after one year and every 3 years thereafter.

Protection against parvo disease:

  • Unvaccinated puppies and fully immunized puppies should not be exposed to unvaccinated dogs or to environments in which unvaccinated dogs can enter the Parvovirus, such as dog parks
  • While it may be tempting to bring your new puppy with you everywhere you go, its health depends on keeping it safe until it is fully vaccinated against this life-threatening disease
  • Unvaccinated puppies can be safely bred with fully vaccinated adult dogs in safe environments such as your home.
  • Vaccination reduces the risk of spreading deadly diseases such as parvovirus in dogs, dog socialization and training are very important to proper development, but it is up to you to ensure that your puppy is socialized in a safe environment. A puppy should never be placed in situations such as daycare or training classes until they complete their vaccinations at the age of 14 to 16 weeks.
  • Understanding the risk of the Parvovirus infection is the first step towards preventing the spread of this dangerous virus.
    • Make sure your puppies receive immunizations at the appropriate ages and protect the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated puppies by keeping them in a safe environment.
    • If you suspect your puppy has parvovirus, contact your veterinarian immediately.

How can vaccinated dogs be infected with Parvovirus in dogs?

  • Puppies must obtain a series of vaccines to create immunity against Parvovirus. So, if they miss the booster doses in the puppy’s vaccine series, they are at risk of infection with the Parvovirus.
  • And if they do not continue to receive lifelong immunization doses as recommended by the veterinarian, their antibody levels can be significantly reduced and will be susceptible to infection with the Parvo disease.
  • Some pet breeders choose to test dog antibody levels every year before getting vaccinated. If antibody levels are low, vaccination is recommended
  • The viral mutation can also make puppies susceptible to other strains of parvovirus that are not included in the vaccine.

Resources: 

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/parvo-in-dogs/

https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_canine_parvovirus_infection

https://www.caninejournal.com/parvo-in-dogs/#symptoms

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/canine-parvovirus

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