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Parvovirus in Dogs

Parvovirus in Dogs, Picayune Veterinary Clinic

Unvaccinated dogs are at a high risk of contracting serious and highly contagious diseases like parvo. Here, our vets in Picayune discuss parvovirus in dogs, including the causes, symptoms and what can be done to treat and prevent this health condition.

Parvovirus in Dogs

Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms. The virus is spread through traces of the infected dog's feces. Asymptomatic dogs, those who have been infected but have not yet developed symptoms, dogs who have developed symptoms, and those who have recently recovered from the disease can all spread parvo.

Because the disease is so contagious, a person who encounters an infected dog unknowingly can pass the virus on to puppies and other dogs simply by touching them. A loving pat on the head, for example, could be the start of a life-threatening illness. Other common sources of contamination are leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding.

The Effect of Parvo on Dogs

Parvo is a disease that affects the stomach and small intestine. The virus starts destroying the dog's gut barrier here, attacking healthy cells and preventing essential nutrients from being absorbed.

This serious disease attacks a puppy's bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues, essential to your dog's immune system. The virus then often affects the heart.

What makes parvovirus so dangerous for puppies?

Suppose the mother dog has been fully vaccinated against parvovirus. In that case, parvovirus will receive antibodies from her that will protect them against the virus for the first six weeks of their lives. However, as they start to wean at around six weeks old, their immune systems begin to weaken, making them vulnerable to the disease.

For this reason, veterinarians recommend that pet owners start vaccinating their puppies against Parvo at six weeks when the mother's antibodies no longer protect them. It is important to note that puppies will not be fully protected against the disease until they have received all three parvo vaccinations. During the time between weaning and complete vaccination, puppies are most likely to contract parvo.

Your puppy should receive their first vaccines against parvovirus at 6 to 8 weeks of age. If you are a pet parent, vaccinating your puppy against parvovirus is the best way to protect them and the other pets around them.

What are the symptoms of parvovirus in dogs?

It's critical to realize that once your puppy shows symptoms, they're already very sick. If you suspect parvovirus in your dog, contact your vet immediately. The symptoms include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

Treating Parvovirus in Dogs

Although parvo cannot be cured in puppies, your veterinarians can provide supportive treatment to manage symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Adequate hydration and nutrition are crucial for a dog's recovery from parvo.

Due to their weakened immune systems, puppies with parvo often develop secondary infections. Therefore, veterinarians monitor their progress and may prescribe antibiotics to combat bacterial infections.

If treated by a veterinarian and able to survive the first four days after symptoms appear, your puppy will likely recover from the disease. Typically, parvo in dogs takes about a week to recover from.

If your puppy is diagnosed with parvovirus, it is essential to isolate them from other animals and always wash your hands thoroughly after being near your young dog.

Preventing Parvovirus in Dogs

Allowing your puppy to be around dogs not fully vaccinated against parvovirus is a good idea. While socialization is essential for young dogs, it's also crucial to ensure that the dogs with whom your puppy interacts are fully vaccinated and do not pose a health risk. Consult your veterinarian for advice on how to protect your new four-legged family member best.

Follow your vet's advice and prevent parvovirus by bringing your dog in for vaccines against rabies and other potentially serious conditions based on a puppy vaccination schedule for your area.

Dogs with viruses like parvovirus risk complications; immunity through vaccinations is the best option.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Prevention is the first step in protecting your furry friend. Contact our vets in Picayune to schedule routine preventive care, including vaccinations and parasite prevention.

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