Parvovirus is a highly contagious and dangerous virus for dogs. It spreads easily through contact with infected dogs or their belongings like toys, bowls, or leashes. In this blog, our vets in Southborough will cover everything you should know about parvovirus and how to keep your furry friend safe.
How Canine Parvovirus 'Parvo' Spreads
Parvovirus is a super contagious virus that can make puppies and unvaccinated dogs really sick. The virus is transmitted through traces of feces from dogs that have the infection. Infected dogs that are asymptomatic and haven't started showing any symptoms can spread Parvo, as well as dogs with pups with symptoms and ones that have just recovered from the virus.
It's so contagious that if you touch a dog who has it, even if you don't know they do, you could make puppies and other dogs sick. This means that a loving pat on the head can be the beginning of a life-threatening illness.
Other things like leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding can also have the virus on them and make dogs sick.
The Ways Parvovirus Attacks Your Dog's Body
Parvo is a disease that mainly affects your dog's stomach and small intestines. It is here that the virus starts destroying the barrier of your dog's gut by attacking healthy cells and blocking the absorption of essential nutrients.
In puppies, it can also harm the bone marrow and parts of the immune system, sometimes leading to heart problems.
How Puppies Are More Susceptible to Parvo
When a mother dog is fully vaccinated against Parvo, her puppies will inherit antibodies from the mother that will keep them safe against the virus during the first 6 weeks of their lives.
However, as the puppies start to wean at about 6 weeks of age, their immune systems become weaker, and the young pups become susceptible to the disease.
Veterinarians recommend starting Parvo vaccination for puppies at 6 weeks of age when the puppy starts weaning, and the antibodies from the mother are no longer there to keep them safe.
It's important to note that full protection against OArvo only happens after all 3 vaccinations are given. During the gap between weaning and full vaccination, those puppies are most likely to catch Parvo.
Your puppy should get their parvovirus vaccines at 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age. If you are a pet parent, having your puppy vaccinated against parvovirus is one of the best ways you can protect the health of your new friend as well as the health of the other dogs in your home and neighborhood.
The Signs & Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs
It's imperative to understand that once your puppy starts showing symptoms, they are already extremely ill. If you notice your puppy showing any of the symptoms below, contact your vet immediately.
- Weight loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Bloody diarrhea
Parvovirus has no cure, although your vet will offer supportive treatments to help with symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Your pup must get enough hydration and nutrition in order to recover from parvovirus.
Puppies with PArvo are prone to other infections because of their weakened immune system. Your vet will monitor your puppy's ongoing condition and might prescribe antibiotics to help combat any bacterial infections that may start to arise.
If your dog gets veterinary care and survives the first four days of symptoms, they have a good chance of recovering. Usually, it takes about a week for dogs to bounce back from Parvo.
If your puppy is diagnosed with Canine Parvovirus, you must take the proper steps to isolate them from other animals and always thoroughly wash your hands after being around your dog.
Ways You Can Prevent Parvo
Make sure your puppy only plays with dogs that are fully vaccinated against parvovirus. Your puppy needs to socialize, but it's also crucial to ensure that the dogs your puppy hangs out with are healthy.
Talk to your vet to keep your new furry family member safe. Follow your vet's recommendations and make sure your puppy gets vaccinated for Parvo, rabies, and other important diseases according to your local vaccination schedule.