Parvo affects dog's gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by contact with contaminated feces (stool). The virus can also contaminate kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes, and the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs. It is resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and drying, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. Even trace amounts of feces from an infected dog may harbor the virus and infect other dogs that come into the infected environment. The virus is readily transmitted from place to place on the hair or feet of dogs or via contaminated cages, shoes, or other objects.
Some of the symptoms of parvovirus may include:
- Severe, bloody diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Severe weight loss
Most deaths from Parvooccur within 48 to 72 hours following the onset of clinical signs. If your puppy or dog shows any of these signs, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. No specific drug is available that will kill the virus in infected dogs, and treatment is intended to support the dog’s body systems until the dog’s immune system can fight off the viral infection. Treatment should be started immediately and consists primarily of intensive care efforts to combat dehydration by replacing electrolytes, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, and preventing secondary infections. Sick dogs should be kept warm and receive good nursing care. When a dog develops Parvo, treatment can be very expensive and sadly, we we often lose the patient despite aggressive treatment. Early recognition and aggressive treatment are very important in successful outcomes.
If you have any questions about your dog's vaccination status or, if you'd like to book an appointment, please don't hesitate to call our Hospital. We'd love to assist you in making sure your dog is protected against Parvovirus and, whatever else he or she may need to continue having worry-free adventures with you!