Just what is parvovirus, what dogs are most likely to get parvo, how can my dog get parvovirus, what are the symptoms of parvo, and what should I do if my dog does get parvo? These are some of the questions that I will attempt to address on this page.
Parvovirus: The disease
Parvovirus is a small, but deadly, virus that some think may be a mutation of the feline distemper virus. It is a very hardy virus, and once it becomes active it can remain in the environment for a great deal of time.
Since its discovery in the 1970's parvovirus has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of both wild and domestic dogs. Since a vaccine was introduced the disease is less frequent than in earlier years. However, outbreaks of parvovirus have not disappeared completely.
What Dogs Can Get Parvovirus?
All dogs are capable of developing parvovirus, but puppies from 4-6 weeks (weaning age) and approximately 6 months are the likely candidates for the disease.
According to one Kentucky vet rottweilers are very prone to parvovirus and are most certainly to get it if they are not vaccinated against it. Vaccinations for parvo should begin at 6-8 weeks of age. Puppies should NOT be socialized or taken to public parks or other public places where they can come into contact with other dogs that may be infected until TWO (2) weeks AFTER their last shot.
How Can My Dog Get Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is transmitted through the feces and other body fluids of an infected dog. As stated earlier the virus is particularly hardy and can remain in the environment for quite a long while.
Fencing your yard can help reduce the chance of your dog getting parvovirus by keeping out any dogs that may be infected by the disease.
What Are The Symptoms Of Parvovirus?
While the symptoms of parvovirus may often resemble other diseases here are the most frequent (and if your dog has any of these, whether you suspect parvo or not, they warrant an automatic trip to the vet!):
1. Severe and bloody diarrhea (often this will have a very foul odor and may be yellow in color);
2. Vomiting (often bloody and severe);
3. High fever;
While these symptoms are not meant to be all inclusive they are the worst. As with any serious illness if you suspect your dog may be sick get them to your vet!
What Do I Do If My Dog Has Parvo?
As with any virus there is no cure for parvo. However, if you suspect your puppy or dog has parvo: Get them to a vet at once!
While the disease itself can not be treated the side effects can be. One of the side effects is dehydration due to high fever. According to one vet if treatment is not begun within four days the chances of the dog surviving are not just slim they are non-existant.
Complications from parvovirus (such as congestive heart failure) can stay with a dog for the rest of their life. Most puppies that do survive parvo are un-healthy and sickly for the remainder of their life.
IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR DOG OF HAVING PARVO: GET THEM TO YOUR VET!!!