What is Canine Parvovirus?
Canine Parvovirus is a severe and frequently fatal cause of gastroenteritis. A bacterial infection can enter your dog through the damaged walls of the intestines. Which also reduces your dog’s ability to fight the infection due his/her white blood cell count lowering. The disease is most common in young puppies but any unvaccinated dog at all agers can also be infected. Parvo is every new puppy and dog owner’s worst nightmare. In a matter of days, a perfectly healthy puppy can go from playful and active to fatally ill. Parvo in dogs is a preventable disease, however, all dog owner's need to be aware of the risks of parvo, how to prevent it, and what to do if a puppy catches the parvovirus. The first symptoms of this viral illness cause severe vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, lethargic and weight loss. In puppies aged 6 – 16 weeks the disease is fatal, due to puppies not being fully vaccinated yet.
How can it be spread?
The parvovirus is common in many parts of Australia. It is highly contagious and can survive for long periods of time in the environment, clothing, equipment or on human skin. It can be spread by direct contact with an infected dog, through faeces or between humans (if you touch infected dog then touch unvaccinated dog). Shoes that could have encounter infected faeces can also bring the virus into your puppies’ environment. Infected dogs can start shedding the virus 4 – 5 dogs after exposure often before the dog starts showing any clinical signs of infection. The dog will continue to shed the virus while he/she is sick and for up to 10 days after recovering. This means that accurate diagonsis and quarantine are essential for the health of your beloved pet and other dogs.
Treatment and prevention
Treatment requires intensive care, and sooner your canine is diagnosed the better. Your vet will need to quarantine your dog to be monitor until fully recovered which could take a week. Depending on the severity of the case, your vet may prescribe a series of medications, including antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections from entering your dog through the damaged walls of his intestines and placing your dog on fluids. The good news is this awful disease is preventable, by getting your puppy vaccinated!