Parvovirus is a dangerous virus that easily spreads between dogs through contact with other infected dogs or objects like toys or bedding. Puppies are especially vulnerable. Our vets at Mount Vernon explain how the virus spreads and how to protect your dog.
How is canine parvovirus spread?
Parvovirus is a dangerous virus that affects puppies and unvaccinated dogs and causes stomach problems. It spreads through infected dog poop and can be spread by dogs before they show symptoms. Even healthy-looking dogs can spread the virus. People who touch infected dogs can also spread it to other dogs. Common items like leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding can also carry the virus.
How does parvovirus attack your dog's body?
Parvovirus affects a dog's digestive system and immune system. It attacks the stomach and small intestines, causing damage to healthy cells and stopping the absorption of vital nutrients. In young dogs, the virus can also harm the bone marrow, lymphopoietic tissues, and in some cases, the heart. These areas play critical roles in keeping your pet healthy.
Why are puppies susceptible to parvo?
Suppose a mother dog is vaccinated for parvovirus. In that case, her puppies will have immunity from the disease for the first 6 weeks of their lives because they will inherit antibodies from their mother. However, as they start to wean and their immune systems become weaker, they become vulnerable to parvovirus.
That's why veterinarians recommend starting the puppy's vaccinations at 6 weeks old, when the mother's protection is no longer available. It takes 3 vaccines for a puppy to be fully protected from parvovirus, and this is when they are most at risk of catching the disease.
What are the symptoms of parvovirus in a dog?
It's important to know that when your dog shows symptoms, it means they're already sick. If you see any of these signs, call the vet right away:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Loss of Appetite
- Weight loss
Treatment for Parvovirus in Dogs
There's no cure for parvo in dogs, but your vet will help control symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. It's important to keep your pup hydrated and well-fed to help them recover. Your vet will also watch for secondary infections and give antibiotics if needed. If your dog makes it past the first 4 days of symptoms, they have a good chance of recovering within a week. To prevent spreading parvo, keep your dog away from other animals and wash your hands after being near them
How can I prevent parvo?
Protect your pup from parvovirus by getting them vaccinated. Don't let them play with unvaccinated dogs until they have completed all their shots. It's important for young dogs to socialize, but make sure the other dogs are also fully vaccinated. Your vet can help you keep your furry friend safe. Follow their advice and get your dog vaccinated on time for parvo, rabies and other illnesses.