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Dog Parvovirus - What You Need to Know

Parvovirus is a virus that is highly contagious and often deadly for dogs. It spreads through direct contact with infected dogs or through contact with contaminated objects, such as toys or bowls. Our vets in Santa Clarita have compiled a list of parvovirus facts parvovirus should know to keep your furry friend healthy.

The Spread of Canine Parvovirus 'Parvo'

Puppies and unvaccinated dogs of all ages are susceptible to parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Traces of infected dogs' feces spread the virus. Asymptomatic dogs, those who have been infected but have not yet developed symptoms, as well as dogs who have developed symptoms and those who have recently recovered from the disease, can all spread Parvo.

Because the disease is so contagious, a person who comes into contact with an infected dog unknowingly can pass the virus on to puppies and other dogs simply by touching them. A loving pat on the head, for example, could be the start of a life-threatening illness.

Other common sources of contamination are leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding.

How Parvovirus Attacks Your Dog's Body

Parvo is a disease that affects the stomach and small intestine. The virus starts destroying the dog's gut barrier here, attacking healthy cells and preventing essential nutrients from being absorbed.

In puppies, Parvo also attacks the bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues, which play essential roles in your dog's immune system, and then the virus will often affect the heart.

Why Puppies Are Susceptible to Parvo

If the mother dog has been fully vaccinated against parvovirus, parvovirus will receive antibodies from her that will protect them against the virus for the first six weeks of their lives. However, as they start to wean at around six weeks old, their immune systems begin to weaken, making them vulnerable to the disease.

For this reason, veterinarians recommend that pet owners start vaccinating their puppies against Parvo at six weeks of age when the mother's antibodies are no longer effective in protecting them. It is important to note that puppies will not be fully protected against the disease until they have received all three parvo vaccinations. During the time between weaning and full vaccination, puppies are most likely to contract Parvo.

Your puppy should receive their vaccines against parvovirus at 12 weeks of age. If you are a pet parent, vaccinating your puppy against Parvovirus is the best way to guard your new companion's health and other dogs in your household and neighbourhood.

Symptoms of Parvo 

It's critical to realize that once your puppy shows symptoms, they're already very sick. If you notice any of the symptoms listed below in your puppy, contact your veterinarian immediately.

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

Treatment for Parvovirus in Puppies

Although there is no cure for Parvo in puppies, your veterinarians can provide supportive treatment to manage symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Adequate hydration and nutrition are crucial for a dog to recover from Parvo.

Puppies with Parvo often develop secondary infections due to their weakened immune systems. Therefore, veterinarians keep a close eye on their progress and may prescribe antibiotics to combat any bacterial infections.

If treated by a veterinarian and able to survive the first four days after symptoms appear, there is a good chance that your puppy will recover from the disease. Typically, Parvo in dogs takes about a week to recover from.

If your puppy is diagnosed with Canine Parvovirus it is essential to take steps to isolate your puppy from other animals and always wash your hands thoroughly after being near your young dog.

Preventing Parvo 

Allowing your puppy to be around dogs not fully vaccinated against Parvovirus is a good idea. While socialization is important for young dogs, it's also crucial to ensure that the dogs with whom your puppy interacts are fully vaccinated and do not pose a health risk. Consult your veterinarian for advice on how to protect your new four-legged family member best.

Be sure to follow your vet's advice and have your puppy vaccinated against Parvo, rabies, and other potentially serious conditions based on a puppy vaccination schedule for your area.

If your puppy or unvaccinated dog shows any signs of parvovirus illness or symptoms, contact our vets in Santa Clarita immediately! Your pup's life could depend upon it.

New Patients Welcome

Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our friendly and experienced vets are passionate about the health of Santa Clarita companion animals and horses. Get in touch today to book your four-legged friend's first appointment.

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