Parvo Enteritis is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Animals like raccoons, wolves, and foxes can be infected, and parvo in dogs, cats and humans is equally common. It is a serious disease, but, fortunately, most times it’s preventable. That’s the take home message with this blog: preventing Parvo is way, way better than trying to manage it.
Don’t Risk It
The canine Parvovirus infects only dogs. It doesn’t pass to humans or cats. Humans and cats have their own strains of Parvovirus specific to their species.
Found in the stool and vomit of infected animals, parvovirus in dogs can be very dangerous. Hardy enough to survive on surfaces (even those cleaned with some chemical cleaners), parvovirus can be picked up by shared bowls, collars, leashes, bedding, as well as contaminated soil. It is resistant to extreme temperatures.
Parvovirus in dogs affects the gastrointestinal system and bone marrow. A few days after exposure, symptoms can include:
- Foul-smelling diarrhea (typically bloody or mucousy)
- Appetite loss
- Lethargy or weakness
Parvo infection is mostly an illness of young dogs. Commonly puppies are most at risk between 2 and 6 months of age.
Veterinarians diagnose parvo infection correlating presenting signs, blood screens a test of the stool that identifies the virus.
Dehydration often occurs quickly in a dog with parvovirus. Complications can include sepsis and a suppressed immune reaction by the bone marrow. Without supportive veterinary care, parvo in dogs can be fatal. There is no specific treatment for Parvovirus infection. Instead, supportive care focuses on controlling vomiting and diarrhea, managing the effects of dehydration and correcting electrolyte imbalance until the virus runs its course of 3-10 days typically. While cases vary, antibiotics are often used; not because they will help control the viral infection, because they won’t, rather, antibiotics are used to manage possible secondary bacterial infections that result from a compromised bowel.
The Best Medicine
Needless to say, Preventing parvovirus is a priority. The vaccination is extremely effective. Maintaining appointments for booster shots is imperative in the fight against parvovirus.
Additionally, keeping your young or immune-compromised dog from public places with unfamiliar dogs is also part of a good defense. Once the puppy vaccination series has been completed, they are much safer from this disease.
The cost of helping a dog recover from parvovirus is much greater than the cost of timely vaccinations. Vaccinations can save your dog’s life.