It is summer time, the perfect time to get that cute puppy your family has always wanted. What do you do with a new puppy? Show him to everyone! Take him everywhere! Bring him to the dog parks to run around!
STOP! Have you ever heard of Parvo, other known as Parvovirus? Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life threatening illness. The virus attacks the dog’s cells, and severely affecting the intestinal tract. This nasty virus can also attack the blood cells and can damage the heart muscle resulting in life long cardiac problems.
You think taking your unvaccinated puppy to your child’s baseball game or to the dog park is perfectly safe, think again! Parvovirus is extremely contagious. It can be transmitted by people, animals, objects that come in contact with an infected dog’s feces. The virus itself can live in the environment for months.
Puppies that have not yet been vaccinated and older dogs who have not received full puppy vaccination series may be susceptible to parvovirus. The general symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea. Now you have dehydration, lack of nutrition, and a huge mess on top of the virus itself.
Veterinarians can diagnose parvovirus on the basis of clinical signs and laboratory testing. The Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay (ELISA) test has become a common test for parvovirus. The ELISA test kit is used to detect parvovirus in a dog’s stools, and is performed in the vet’s office in about 15 minutes. Because this test is not 100% sensitive or specific, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests and bloodwork.
So you’re asking how you can prevent your new family member from this awful virus. Vaccinate your puppy before you bring it anywhere other than your home. I know you want to show off your new furry bundle of joy, but you are putting him/her at great risk for this virus.
Generally, the first vaccine is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a booster is given at four-week intervals until the puppy is 16-20 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age. A puppy’s vaccination program is not complete before four months of age.
Unfortunately there is no special miracle drug available that can kill the virus. Treatment is aggressive supportive care to control your dog’s symptoms and help boost your dog’s immune system. What your veterinarian would most likely start are antibiotics, medication to control the vomiting and diarrhea, intravenous fluids to rehydrate, and other supportive therapies. The average hospital stay is about 5-7 days.
Remember that there is always the risk of the treatment not always being successful. This is a highly deadly disease; this is why it is so important to vaccinate your new family member!! Call you regular veterinarian today!