What is Parvovirus?: Know how it spreads, what are the symptoms and how to prevent it
The infectious DNA disease Parvo is a virus that usually causes severe illness in young unvaccinated dogs and as per recent reports, the virus is on the verge of an outbreak. This disease affects the rapidly dividing cells of the body, which affects the intestinal tract and bone marrow the worst.
Although this virus is mostly seen in puppies and adolescent dogs, it can also affect adult or senior dogs, if they are unvaccinated.
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How Do Dogs Get Parvovirus?
The incredibly contagious disease, Parvovirus spreads very rapidly.
- Though the parvovirus in dogs is not airborne, it can be found on several surfaces.
- This virus is circulated in contact with contaminated feces.
- Other than that the Parvovirus can also live on the ground, on surfaces in kennels, on peoples’ hands, and on the clothing of people that have been contaminated.
- The Dogs could also be the carrier of the virus, it could be on their fur or paws if they have come into contact with contaminated fecal material.
- The Parvovirus can survive outdoors for months and is resistant to many disinfectants.
- Although the virus can prove to be susceptible to diluted bleach and some specialized cleaners commonly used in veterinary hospitals.
What Are the Signs of Parvovirus in Dogs?
- In a dog, the symptoms of parvovirus will start to show within three to seven days of infection.
- A puppy infected with the virus might have a fever and can often show lethargy as the first sign
- The later signs of the progressing virus could be severe vomiting and diarrhea.
- In cases of severe sickness, puppies may collapse and have a high heart rate and hypothermia due to the degree of dehydration and infection.
What Is the Treatment for Parvovirus?
The fact that there is no cure for parvovirus makes it even more dangerous.
The virus can be fought off through treatment which revolves around supporting the puppy so its body can do so.
Supportive care for parvovirus includes:
- Hospitalization with intravenous fluids
- To stop vomiting, Antiemetics are given.
- There is a focus on nutrition, with a feeding tube, if necessary
- The correction of any electrolyte imbalances or low blood glucose
If the Puppy is exhibiting signs of sepsis in which the gut becomes leaky from the disease that the bacteria from the intestines enter the bloodstream then it requires antibiotic therapy.
If a puppy is with high fever or low white blood cells it can be given antibiotics.
How to Prevent the Parvovirus?
- You can prevent your dog from catching the parvovirus by giving them a combination vaccine that goes by a variety of acronyms: DHPP, DAPP, DA2PP, DHLPP, etc.
- This vaccine should be given every three to four weeks from 6 weeks to at least 16 weeks of age since it's the core vaccine and is most crucial.
- It is severely important to make sure that you get your puppy in on time for their vaccines because If too much time has passed between boosters, the vaccine series will need to be started over again to maintain protection.
- The puppies should only socialize with fully vaccinated dogs till the time they are fully vaccinated.
- Parks, where the vaccination status is not ensured, should be avoided.
Your dog needs to receive a booster vaccine at one year of age to be considered fully vaccinated and should also continue to acquire vaccines every one to three years for life.
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