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Parvo is a disease caused by canine parvovirus. Infected puppies and young dogs are likely to succumb to the contagious gastrointestinal if left untreated. The ease in spreading the virus among canines is of great concern.
The canine Parvovirus (CPV) expresses itself in different forms. The primary manifestation is through intestines. When it attacks the intestines, it causes lots of problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, anorexia and drastic loss of weight. CPV can also cause cardiac issues, which can quickly lead to death in puppies.
CPV affects young dogs between 6 weeks and 6 months. Early vaccination is the best way to avert canine parvovirus infections. An infected dog can begin spreading CPV 4 to 5 days before even showing any sign of infection. The virus will be spread throughout the sickness period and for up to 10 days after recovery. This calls for proper care such as, isolation of infected dog to avoid spreading the virus.
How Does A Dog Get Infected With Parvovirus?
The infectious gastrointestinal is passed in different ways. The virus can get to your dog through the mouth, from feces and contaminated soil. The virus can withstand severe climatic conditions and can survive for more than 60 days outside a dog’s body. CPV is very resilient to drying, humidity, cold, and extreme heat.
The canine parvovirus is exceptionally contagious and spreading through dogs’ population is so quick. CPV is caused by a generic variation of the initial canine parvovirus type 2b. There is a myriad of factors that boost the chances of a dog contracting the virus and their ability to fight the infection. Direct contact with an infected dog or eating contaminated feces are the quickest ways a dog contracts the CPV.
Just by sniffing the feces or anus of an infected dog, a healthy dog will be infected. The stool of an infected dog has a high concentration of CPV. Human beings can also expose dogs to the risk of infection when they step on infected feces.
Are the Types of Dogs that are More Likely Contract Parvo?
Yes. Apart from puppies and young dogs, incompletely vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs are more likely to be infected. Particular breeds are at higher risk of being infected. These breeds are;
It has not been scientifically proven why these breeds are more vulnerable to the canine parvovirus. At birth, puppies have enough antibodies inherited from their mothers to fight all sorts of infections. As they grow, the antibodies become less effective, and when you don’t vaccinate them, you are increasing their chances of contracting CPV. It’s prudent to involve your vet, especially when the puppies are not fully grown.
ELISA and hemagglutination tests are used to diagnose CPV. When the tests detect the presence of CPV2 in feces of a dog, it’s a clear indication of infection. When a minimal virus is shed in the feces, PCR comes in handy since ELISA might fail to detect the virus. For intestinal infections, bloody diarrhea is an obvious indication of infection.
In unvaccinated dogs, necrosis of the lining of the intestines and low count of white blood cells points at the canine parvovirus infection. For cardiac manifestations, the signs are distinctively outright. It is vital to take your dog to an experienced veterinary to avoid misdiagnosis.
Signs of Parvovirus in Dogs
There are several indications of CPV infections. The signs can be seen openly, but for confusing signs, planning for a proper test is essential. The recurring symptoms are;
Loss of Appetite
Poor appetite is often the first sign of CPV infection. When the virus is developing, it attacks and multiple in the intestinal linings and other body parts leading to loss of appetite. The body is naturally tuned to fight back; during these conflicts, the body is weakened and prone to fever resulting in disinterest in food.
At the start of vomiting, the vomit might have remnants of the previous meal, but as the infection worsen, it will come out with foamy mucus or blood. The blood in the vomit might look somewhat digested. The blood originates from injured intestinal linings. Due to diarrhea and vomiting, an infected dog will always try to eat or drink something, but it will be vomited there and then.
Infected canines will develop diarrhea due to the destruction of intestinal parts caused by an immune response to the infection. The intestinal linings wouldn’t be in a good condition to absorb water and nutrients resulting in leakage. The body fluids will pass through the intestines without being absorbed. The blood vessels in the intestinal wall will be punctured, resulting in traces of blood in diarrhea. Diarrhea and vomiting can quickly kill your dog due to dehydration.
Treating canine parvovirus is an expensive affair. It can cost you up to $3000, which doesn’t guarantee full recovery. Prevention is always better than cure. Puppy Parvo shots are popular ways of mitigating this infection. The vaccine is very affordable and a sure way of preventing the infection.
The vaccines should be administered once a week until the puppy is about four months. It’s recommendable to revaccinate your dog once annually and be given parvo boost at least once in three years. Bigger breeds such as Pit Bulls will need an prolonged vaccination period of up to half a year.
Treatment of Parvo
Once your dog is diagnosed with CPV infection, the age the dog and extent of the epidemic will determine how best the illness will be treated. Due to dehydration and possible damage to the intestinal linings or cardiac issues, the dog might have to be extensively hospitalized. Early diagnosis increases the chances of survival.
Cure involves use of crystalloid IV fluids or colloids injections, for instance, metoclopramide prochlorperazine, and broad-spectrum. In other cases, antibiotic doses such as timentin, or enrofloxacin are also administered. For intestinal lining injuries, analgesic treatments are employed.
When the dog vomits, several forms of fluids are used to counteract dehydration and to attain enough rehydration. The dog size, the extent of dehydration, and weight loss are used to determine the amount of fluids to be administered.
Tony is the owner of Petpetbuy.com, the pet-parent of two dogs, and he is also an active animal rescuer. He works with multiple non-governmental organisations which work towards providing aid to homeless dogs and cats.