Parvo: The Puppy Killer
Parvo is highly contagious and very dangerous. It can kill your puppy. Puppies who get infected but survive the infection often have life long cardiac and intestinal problems. Parvo is a very serious, and common, infection. Thankfully it is easy to prevent!
What is Parvo?
Parvo is an infection that primarily affects puppies from 6 weeks to 6 months old that lack adequate antibody protection. Maternal antibodies are protective but not sufficient when faced with contagion.
Symptoms of Parvo
Parvo is the leading cause of infectious diarrhea in dogs.
- Diarrhea (often bloody and foul smelling)
- Loss of appetite
- Severe Dehydration
If not taken care of, severe dehydration can lead to death. Parvo also damages the cardiac muscles and can lead to life long cardiac problems. Dogs affected with Parvo are also susceptible to secondary bacterial infection.
Parvo is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS and any dog that is infected must be quarantines.
Testing for Parvo is relatively easy by having your vet do a fecal test. However, the test must be done within 5 days of the onset of symptoms while the dog is shedding the virus.
If your dog has Parvo, he will have to be admitted to the veterinary clinic for treatment.
- IV fluids
- Anti vomiting medication
The treatment is primarily based on support care, assisting your dog in surviving the infection. Generally it takes 5-7 days in the clinic for treatment and is very costly.
Though there is no cure for Parvo there is prevention!
Vaccinations are the key to Parvo prevention. It is simple and inexpensive to get the vaccination. It is recommended that you vaccinate at 6-8 weeks old and then get boosters every 3-4 weeks until your puppy is 16 weeks old.
Once the initial series is done, your dog will need a booster a year later and then every 3 years after that.
If you have an older dog in the house that has not been vaccinated recently, it is a good idea to update their booster when you bring in a new puppy.