Pet Library

Canine Parvovirus

Overview

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. Highly contagious, this virus can affect all dogs, however, canines that are the most at-risk of parvovirus are unvaccinated dogs and puppies that are younger than four months old.

Parvo can get spread through direct dog-to-dog contact as well as through contact with contaminated feces, people or environments. It is also capable of contaminated things like kennel surfaces, bowls, leashes, collars and the clothing and hands of those who treat infected dogs.

This virus can be easily transmitted through the hair or paws of dogs, or through contaminated shoes, cages or other objects. Parvo is resistant to cold, heat, drying and humidity and can survive for long periods of time in the environment—even trace amounts of an infected canine’s feces can harbor the virus and infect other dogs that are in the area.

Signs of Parvo

Major symptoms of a parvovirus infection include:

• Lethargy
• Anorexia
• Fever
• Vomiting
• Bloody diarrhea
• Severe weight loss

Other things to look out for include rapid heartbeat and redness around the wet tissue of the mouth and eyes.

Diagnosing and Treating Parvo

Based on a dog’s history, physical examination and laboratory tests, parvo may be suspected—a fecal test will confirm the diagnosis. While there is no specific drug available that will eliminate parvo in infected dogs, treatment can help fight the infection. This care will need to be started immediately and will consist of intensive efforts to combat dehydration by replacing protein, electrolyte and fluid loss while also controlling diarrhea and vomiting to prevent secondary infections.
If a dog does get parvo, treating them can be quite expensive. For a successful outcome, early recognition with aggressive treatment is essential. With proper care, an infected dog’s survival rate can get as high as 90 percent.

Due to the highly contagious nature of parvovirus, infected dogs must be isolated to prevent the spreading of this disease. Along with isolation, proper cleaning of contaminated areas is an essential component to controlling the spread of parvo. Since this virus is not easily killed, consulting a veterinarian for guidance on cleaning and disinfecting is recommended.

Parvovirus Prevention

Parvovirus prevention includes practicing good hygiene and following the proper protocol for vaccination. For young pups, they should be vaccinated at six weeks, nine weeks and 12 weeks and should be kept away from outside dogs until at least two weeks after their last round of vaccinations.

It’s also extremely important to keep your puppy or adult dog away from contact with the fecal waste of other dogs while they are walking or playing outdoors. Prompt disposal of waste material is highly advised to limit the spread of parvo, along with other diseases that can infect humans and animals.

Dogs that have diarrhea, vomiting or have been exposed to ill dogs should be kept away from kennels, parks or other places where they could potentially contact other dogs. Unvaccinated dogs should not be in the vicinity of those with an unknown vaccination history, and if people come in contact with sick or exposed canines, they should avoid handling other dogs and should practice proper hygiene techniques such as hand washing and clothing washing.

Contact Us with Any Additional Questions

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. For any questions regarding parvovirus, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909
Dunlap: 309-439-9522
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is very serious, as it can result in severe lung disease, heart failure and even death in pets. Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites, which results in worms producing offspring inside your pet. These worms live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of an infected animal.

Heartworm in Dogs

When an infected mosquito bites a dog, the mosquito spreads the infective larvae of heartworms to the dog through the bite wound. For the now newly infected dog, it usually takes about six or seven months for the larvae to develop into adult heartworms, which then mate, causing the female to release their offspring into the dog’s bloodstream.

Heartworm disease is not contagious and is only spread through the bite of a mosquito. Once inside a dog, a heartworm’s lifespan is five to seven years.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs may not be obvious, as a dog may appear healthy on the outside, but on the inside heartworms may be living. There are four different stages (classes) of heartworm disease in dogs:

• Class 1: No symptoms or minimal symptoms like an occasional cough
• Class 2: Moderate symptoms like occasional cough and fatigue
• Class 3: Loss of body condition, persistent cough and fatigue after mild activity. Breathing problems and signs of heart failure are also common.
• Class 4: Caval syndrome, where blood flowing back to the heart gets physically blocked by a large mass of worms. This class is life-threatening and immediate surgical removal of the worms is the only treatment option. The surgery is risky, and at this stage there are high fatality rates.

Prevention

The best treatment for heartworm disease is prevention. There are many FDA-approved products out there, which can be given monthly as a topical liquid or as an oral tablet. Year-round prevention is the best.

Heartworm in Cats

Cats can get heartworm after being bitten by an infected mosquito, however they are not as susceptible to it as dogs are—the worms don’t thrive as well inside a cat’s body. Both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk for heartworm disease. Heartworms don’t live as long or grow as long in cats as they do in dogs, and fewer of the worms mature into adults.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Cats

Not all cats with heartworm disease will display symptoms, and some cats can even spontaneously rid themselves of heartworms without having any symptoms. Cats with heartworm disease may have symptoms that resemble other feline diseases—these include vomiting, loss of appetite and activity and weight loss.

For cats that do have symptoms of heartworm disease, respiratory symptoms may occur due to lung damage. Felines will usually show symptoms of heartworm disease in two instances—when immature heartworms arrive in the heart and lung arteries and when adult heartworms die.

Prevention

The best treatment for heartworm disease is prevention. There are many FDA-approved products out there, which can be given monthly as a topical liquid or as an oral tablet. Year-round prevention is the best.

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. For any questions regarding heartworm, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909
Dunlap: 309-439-9522
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

Pyometra

Overview

Pyometra is a complicated disease that is triggered by bacterial involvement. It is an infection of the uterus that can occur in cats and dogs and makes them very ill. The cyclical hormonal influences of female cats and dogs lets the uterus go through changes that will be acceptable for fertilization of an embryo. If bacteria get introduced to the uterus at a specific time during the cycle, hormonal regulation of the uterus starts the infection, which can become life-threatening.

Cats and dogs that are spayed early in their life will most likely not develop pyometra. However, a uterine stump pyometra may occur after an incomplete ovariohysterectomy, where a uterine body or horn segment may become infected. When this develops, it is usually because a portion of the ovarian tissue is still present or the pet has been subjected to progestational hormones.

What Are the Signs of Pyometra?

Symptoms include:

• Excessive water intake
• Excessive urination
• Lethargy
• Anorexia
• Depression
• Bloody vaginal discharge
• Pal mucous membranes

Additional, less-reported signs include vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal distension and inflamed eyes. Pets may even have no other signs besides purulent vaginal discharge. Please note that pyometra should be considered in any intact female dog that is sick.

Diagnostics

To diagnose pyometra, your veterinarian may recommend the following tests:

• Complete blood count
• Urinalysis
• General chemistry profile
• Abdominal radiographs
• Abdominal ultrasound
• Vaginal cytology

Treatment

Pyometra is a serious emergency that requires rapid intervention to prevent infection and death. Most pets will need preoperative stabilization and resuscitation, and after stabilization, an ovariohysterectomy (spay) is the optimal therapy of choice. When this occurs, a rapid recovery with minimal risk of recurrence is usually the outcome. Spaying also eliminates the risk of unwanted pregnancy and ovarian and uterine cancer.

There may be other methods of treatment if it is the desire to have the pet breed—these include injectable prostaglandins and antibiotics. If this occurs, it’s important to note that dogs and cats are susceptible to developing pyometra again and should be spayed when their breeding purposes are finished.

After-Treatment Care

After your pet gets discharged, there is minimal aftercare, which is generally the same as it is for a routine spaying procedure. Your pet will however be on antibiotics for at least 10 days, and activity should be limited for the first two weeks after surgery. The incision should also be protected from self-trauma.

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. For any questions regarding pyometra, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909
Dunlap: 309-439-9522
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

Ruptured Cruciate

Overview

For dogs, a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament is the most common knee injury in canines. The cruciate ligaments are two bands of fibrous tissue located within each knee joint, which join the femur and tibia together, causing the knee to work as a hinged joint.

An acute or traumatic cruciate rupture happens when there is a twisting injury to the knee joint, which occurs when a dog is running and has a sudden change of direction. A cruciate ligament rupture is very painful for the animal and it renders the knee joint unstable.

Dogs with problems in their knees may be more inclined to rupturing the cruciate ligament, as well as dogs who are obese. For overweight canines, this can happen through minor knee trauma, like stumbling or tripping while walking.

Diagnosis

When a ruptured cruciate occurs, dogs usually will place limited weight on their injured leg. We will then hear from pet owners that the animal was running and turning when, all of a sudden, they stopped, made a noise and were then unable to put weight on the hurt leg. During the exam, we will check your dog’s leg and attempt to move it in certain directions to make a correct diagnosis—x-rays may also be necessary. In some instances, a sedative will have to be administered to the dog, so we can perform these services.

Surgery

Some dogs could heal this injury without surgery, but this requires them to have extremely limited exercise, movement and rest for approximately six weeks. Unfortunately, most dogs will require surgery when a ruptured cruciate occurs.

After surgery, you must limit your dog’s activity for six to eight weeks after surgery. If all goes well, normal activity to your dog’s leg may resume within three months, however arthritis will probably develop as your dog gets older. Physical therapy is recommended after the surgery to ensure a quick recovery and to minimize complications. We will discuss all of this and more prior to surgery.

At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. For any questions regarding cruciate ligament ruptures in dogs, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909
Dunlap: 309-439-9522
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527