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:
• 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 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:
Dunlap II: 309-413-0527