Parvo in Puppies- Symptoms and Prevention
4 August, 2017
Parvo in puppies is caused by the canine parvovirus. This virus is highly contagious and spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object. Your puppy is exposed to the parvovirus every time he sniffs, licks, or consumes infected feces. The occurrence of Parvo has been reduced drastically by early vaccination in young puppies.
Puppies usually get Parvo because of their weakened immune systems
Puppies’ ages six weeks to six months are the most susceptible to parvo. Puppies younger than six-weeks-old still retain some of their mother’s antibodies, assuming that the dam received her full series of parvo vaccinations. Puppies are vaccinated against parvo at approximately 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age. They are vulnerable to the disease until they have received all three shots in their vaccination series, which means owners need to take extra precaution during this time to prevent their puppies from contracting the virus.
Symptoms of Parvo in puppies
If at any time your puppy is feeling under the weather, but you should also be aware of the specific symptoms of parvo in puppies: bloody diarrhea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, weight loss, weakness, dehydration, depression
All of these symptoms are serious by themselves and could be a sign of parvo or another serious illness. You should contact your vet immediately if you suspect your puppy has parvo, and be sure to notify the vet’s staff ahead of time of your suspicions and your puppy’s symptoms. The vet will need to appropriately quarantine their offices to prevent your puppy from infecting other dogs.
Puppies with parvo can be contagious as soon as they get the virus
Puppies and adult dogs with parvo start shedding the virus within 4-to-5 days of exposure. Unfortunately for conscientious owners, this time period does not always coincide with the first parvo symptoms, which means dogs can be contagious before owners even realize that they are sick. Puppies with parvo continue to shed the virus for up to 10 days after a clinical recovery, so be sure to keep any puppies recovering from parvo away from unvaccinated and partially vaccinated dogs.
The Parvo virus can survive indoors for at least one month, and outdoors it can survive for many months and even a year under the right conditions. Talk to your vet about the best way to remove the parvovirus from your home environment or kennels.
Treating Parvo in puppies
Your vet will diagnose parvo based on clinical signs and through blood work. She may also run a test called an ELISA to search for virus antigens in your dog’s feces and will perform additional diagnostic testing as needed.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for parvo. Your vet will offer your puppy supportive care over the course of the illness, treating symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration, and making sure that your puppy gets adequate nutrition.
Parvo is a potentially fatal disease. The survival rate of dogs treated by a veterinarian is approximately 75% and most puppies that survive the first three-to-four days make a complete recovery. Recovery times vary depending on the severity of the case, but it usually takes approximately one week for puppies to recover from parvo.
Preventing Parvo in Puppies
Parvo is a preventable virus. All puppies and adult dogs should receive their parvo vaccinations.
You should not allow puppies to come into contact with unvaccinated dogs until they have received all of their parvo vaccines. Make sure all dogs in your household are vaccinated and be very careful when socializing your puppy. Plan on socializing your puppy in a less public environment until the vaccinations are complete.
You can socialize your puppy with fully vaccinated adult dogs in an environment like your home. Puppy classes, boarding facilities, and doggy daycare facilities usually require proof of vaccination for all of their participants, but it is always a good idea to talk to your vet about the appropriate level of caution.