Dogs and Parvovirus

party 9This life threatening illness is very contagious. This is a virus that attacks a dog’s body dividing the cells and attacks the white blood cells in the dog. If a young puppy is infected it can cause permanent damage to the puppy’s heart. The virus can also attack the intestines.


Parvo Symptoms
-Extreme vomiting
-Loss of appetite
-Bloody stools
-Horrible smelling diarrhea
-Dehydration that is life-threatening


Parvo Transmission
Where ever there are a number of dogs is where this virus can live. It can live on objects like shoes, food bowls, anything. It starts on the poop of a dog and becomes highly contagious almost airborne. If someone walks down a street and picks up the virus on their shoes they will take it home to their dog. It is very likely for a dog who has not been vaccinated for Parvo to get become infected with the virus.


Parvo Diagnosis
Testing for the Parvovirus is done in a vet’s office. The test is conducted on the dog’s stools and is done within as little as fifteen minutes. The test is named Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay or ELISA. Additional bloodwork may be needed due to the fact that this test is not 100% correct. It is not sensitive therefore, it may not catch it. If the dog has Parvo like symptoms the vet will probably recommend bloodwork on the dog.


Prone Parvo Victims
Dogs who are more prone to the Parvovirus are puppies, younger dogs, and of course any dogs that are not vaccinated for the Parvovirus. This virus definitely attacks canines. There are some breeds that are at more danger than others.

The following are some breeds that are in more danger than most:
-Doberman Pinscher
-Labrador Retriever
-German Shepherd
-American Staffordshire Terrier


Parvo Prevention
The most effective step to take to prevent a dog from Parvo is to make sure they are always up to date on their Parvo vaccines. These vaccines are so important that they are a must for any dog or puppy owner to keep track of. Puppies will usually get this vaccination routinely in combination with other high risk disease vaccines. A very common puppy shot is a vaccine against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, Parvo, and parainfluenza. This vaccine is referred to as the “5 in 1”.
This round of vaccines comes in a booster. The first shot is given at 6-8 weeks of age. The boosters are then given every 4 weeks until the puppy reaches 16-20 weeks of age. The last booster is then given at a year of age. Parvo vaccines are not complete and the puppy will remain in danger until they reach the age of four months old. Older dogs can be in danger of being infected with Parvo if they were never vaccinated for Parvo as a puppy. Older dogs should be reassured with at least one Parvo vaccine.
The Parvovirus can live for months without a host. If an infected animal has been in a certain environment it is important to sterilize it entirely. This virus is resistant to a lot of disinfectants. The one thing to use would be bleach. This can be used on soles of shoes, floors, chairs, any object standing still. Dog bowls and things that are not bleached however should be thrown in to the trash. Bleach will work on some flooring areas if not the flooring may need to be resurfaced.


Parvo Treatment
The most effective treatment is done in an animal hospital. This visit will be costly. The vet will give the dog antibiotics, IV fluids, and medicines to control vomiting. These stays normally take about a week. The vet will need to boost the dog’s immune system as it will be crumbling from the virus. It is very important to make dogs are vaccinated as the animal hospital visit is not guaranteed to be successful.


Time for a Vet
Symptoms to indicate time to contact the vet are as follows:
-Loss of appetite
-Bloody diarrhea

Symptoms That May Be another Health Problem
Bloody diarrhea may also be a sign of a parasitic infection not just Parvo. Diarrhea may also be an indication of stress colitis or the dog may have eaten trash or something that the dog’s system just does not agree with. Sometimes things that dogs eat may block their digestive tract. Because these symptoms can lead to other things it is extremely important to contact a vet to make a diagnosis.



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