Canine Parvovirus, a highly contagious and life-threatening illness, can typically be prevented by making sure your dog is up to date on his or her vaccinations. And prevention is critical, as there are no drugs available to kill the virus.

Because Parvovirus usually results in death without aggressive treatment once clinical signs develop, I’ve chosen to write this article to educate dog owners about signs, symptoms, treatment options, and most importantly preventative measures, as a way to protect our beloved pets.

What Is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus destroys rapidly regenerating cells, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. It also attacks white blood cells, weakening the immune system against other infectious diseases and spread of gut bacteria throughout the bloodstream. It is typically a disease in puppies without full immunization but can also occur in adults without vaccines.

How Is It Contracted and Prevented?

The virus, which can live for months in the environment, can be transmitted by anyone or anything that comes in contact with an infected dog’s feces. A dog may contract Parvovirus through direct contact or fecal oral transmission.

As mentioned above, Parvovirus is extremely contagious to unvaccinated dogs. Before socializing a puppy, consult your primary vet for the appropriate schedule of immunizations. Keep him or her isolated from unknown dogs and public areas until he or she is fully vaccinated. Also, if you adopt an older dog, review their records with your vet. For all dogs, schedule an annual examination with your vet and maintain your furry friends’ annual boosters.

Signs And Symptoms Of Parvovirus

  • Lethargy
  • Severe vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite

Treatment Of Parvovirus

When a dog is diagnosed with Parvovirus, he or she will be admitted to a veterinary hospital for treatment. This plan is aimed at controlling the symptoms while boosting the immune system to help kill off the virus. More specifically, the patient will be given IV fluids, gastroprotectants, antibiotics and pain medication. The dog will also be monitored for secondary complications, which include aspiration pneumonia, sepsis and low blood pressure.

Throughout the stay, which averages around 5 to 7 days, the patient will be in isolation to prevent disease transmission. Even with the best veterinary care, Parvovirus can be fatal.

How CARE Can Help

If your dog shows any signs or symptoms of Parvovirus, contact your vet immediately. Your vet can run preliminary tests and refer you to CARE. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so if any of these symptoms show up outside of regular business hours, please contact us directly and we can perform the diagnostic tests. Immediate treatment is critical for recovery. You can call us at 704-457-2300.

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