What Every Pet Parent Needs to Know About Parvovirus in Dogs
Like many other serious dog diseases, Parvo is fast becoming an ever-spreading problem in dogs. If you're a pet parent whose dog has been diagnosed with Parvo, It's important to be aware of what is going on so that you can provide the best care for your fur baby.
What is parvo in dogs?
Parvo is a viral disease that is very contagious and causes acute gastrointestinal illness. The virus infects the small intestines destroying cells, impairing absorption, and disrupting the gut barrier. It can spread through direct contact with an infected dog. It also often strikes in pups between six and 20 weeks old as they are the most susceptible.
Puppies and unvaccinated dogs, including those that have not yet had their full booster shots, are at the most significant risk for Parvovirus. Parvovirus makes puppies very weak, and their immune systems have to work extra hard to overcome the symptoms. Parvo can turn fatal for puppies between the ages of six weeks and six months due to secondary infections and dehydration.
The Parvovirus can be found in any environment and can be spread through direct contact with an infected dog. However, not every dog that comes into contact with the virus will become infected. Several factors may lead to Infection, including your dog's immunity and the number of viruses the dog has been exposed to.
What happens during Infection
Once infected, there is an incubation period of up to seven days before the onset of the first symptoms. The Parvovirus begins by attacking the lymph nodes of the throat before entering the bloodstream and penetrating the intestines, where it does the most damage.
Symptoms of parvo
After the incubation period, your dog may start showing the following symptoms.
- loss or lack of appetite,
- high fever
- Diarrhea (may be bloody).
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, they may have Parvo, and you need to visit your veterinarian in order to receive the correct diagnosis.
Treatment options for parvo
There's currently no medication that can treat canine Parvovirus. Instead, treatment for Parvovirus involves supporting the infected dog's immune system and assisting the body to regain its capability to resist the disease.
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you need to visit your Vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment advice. Parvo can be fatal within 48 to 72 hours of the onset of the symptoms. The earlier you seek help, the higher your pet's chances of survival.
Once diagnosed, make sure to keep your dog isolated to avoid further spread. Remember to inform your Vet if you have any other canines in your household so they can further advise on prevention options.
What can I do to prevent my dog from getting parvo?
The best way to keep your furry companion safe from Parvo is by vaccination. Pets can be vaccinated against Parvovirus as early as six weeks old and repeated every 3 to 4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. The booster dose should be taken after the first birthday.
If an infected pup has contaminated your home, disinfect any areas that have been in contact with the infected dog.
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