Many people that own dogs have probably heard of the disease known as Parvo. However, not many people know what it is or why it is so dangerous. If you’re a new dog owner, then you’re probably wondering the same thing. It is important to know the facts regarding Parvo and why it is dangerous. Not only is this a highly contagious K9 disease, but it is also highly life-threatening to those dogs that do get it.
What is Parvo?
Parvo is an infection and viral illness. One type of Parvovirus attacks the intestinal tract of the dog, while another attacks the heart. The most common being the intestinal. The virus attacks the separating cells in the body, as well as the white blood cells. The majority of the cases seen are in puppies 6 weeks to 6 months of age. Vaccination at a young age in puppies has drastically reduced the amount of puppies that catch the virus.
Symptoms of Parvovirus
Paying attention to these warning signs and symptoms can help reduce the chances of having your pup fall victim to this deadly disease.
- Severe diarrhea that is bloody
- Lack of appetite
- Severe weight loss
Many dogs may cry out in pain due to the illness. They may whimper, not want to take water and eventually will succumb to the symptoms.
It is important to speak with a veterinarian as soon as any of these symptoms are noticed. The sooner your pet receives help, the better chances they have of survival. Those that do survive will have a weakened immune system for some time. However, they will have an immunity against the virus though, it is not a guarantee that the dog will not get the virus again.
Treatment and Prevention
Treatment doesn’t involve a cure. The only way that the Parvovirus can be treated is through treatment of the symptoms. Keeping a dog hydrated, nourished and reducing the chances of secondary infections are a must. However, keep in mind that is common for puppies to die of this disease due to having a weakened immune system. Prognosis for patients with Parvo are generally never good.
Prevention is key for keeping Parvo away. As soon as a puppy reaches 6 weeks, then again at 9 and 12 weeks, they should receive the vaccine against it. This will highly reduce the chances of the puppy catching the virus. Skipping doses or not getting the vaccinations can leave puppies and dogs susceptible to the disease.
Testing is done through a blood test and stool sample. Both of these can detect the virus and show lower levels of white blood cells in the body. Once confirmed, the vet may want to run additional tests or treat the specific symptoms the puppy is having.
Speaking with your veterinarian regarding the Parvovirus vaccination, or if you suspect your puppy has gotten the disease is recommended. They can provide you with more information on the topic, as well as a treatment plan. Early findings of the disease have better outcomes than waiting.
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