Canine parvo virus (CPV) is a highly contagious disease. It is the most common infectious disorder of dogs in the U.S. The virus is shed in the feces of infected dogs, but can be carried on a variety of objects and can also live in soil. The virus can survive on inanimate objects, such as clothing, food dishes, and cage floors, for six months or more. Your dog should be vaccinated for parvo as a puppy and have yearly booster shots to protect him.
There are two different parvoviruses (CPV) called CPV-2 and MVC, CPV-1). MVC may cause pneumonia, myocarditis (inflammation of the walls of the heart) and enteritis (inflammation of the small intestine) in young pups, or infections in pregnant dogs resulting in the death of the fetus. Parvo tends to attack the heart in puppies.
Humans cannot catch the disease.
There is a wide range of symptoms experienced by dogs with parvo. Some dogs, especially adult dogs, show few symptoms. Others, especially puppies, experience severe symptoms and can even die from the disease. Most cases are seen in dogs less than six months old, with the most severe cases in puppies less than twelve weeks old. Certain breeds are also more susceptible, such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and Labrador Retrievers.
The severity of parvo symptoms is related to the extent of the exposure. If your dog comes in minimal contact with the virus, then you should see mild symptoms.
Typical parvo dogs symptoms include:
- vomiting- severe diarrhea- bloody feces- dehydration- fever
The disease can progress rapidly and death can occur within two days of onset of symptoms. If your dog shows symptoms of CPV, take him to the vet right away.
Parvo Dogs Diagnosis
There is a relatively inexpensive blood test (ELISA) that can diagnose parvo. The test is better at detecting the disease earlier in the life of the infection. Other tests are available, but tend to be more expensive.
Parvo Dogs Treatment
There is no cure for parvo, and even with the best available care, the mortality rate with parvo virus is high. That's why it's so important to have your dog vaccinated and to keep his vaccinations current. Treatment is simply geared toward supportive therapy.
Dehydration is a serious concern with all the vomiting and diarrhea, and is treated with IV or subcutaneous fluids. In addition, medications to stop the vomiting and diarrhea may be given. Restricting food during periods of vomiting is advised, but fresh water should be kept available at all times.
Antibiotics are given to control secondary bacterial infections, which often set in as a dog's immune system is compromised by parvo virus.
Your dog will probably have to be hospitalized for a few days to receive round-the-clock care. Before he comes home, you will need to disinfect his environment so that he does not become reinfected. Use half a cup of bleach to a gallon of water and clean his dishes, toys, cage, and other items he uses regularly.
Your recovering pet will still be contagious for at least two months after recovery, so he should be kept away from other dogs. This also means you should not allow his feces to be left where other dogs might sniff them. Ask your vet when he can safely be around other dogs. Humans and cats cannot catch parvo, so they are safe to be around your dog.
After parvo or during the recovery period ask your veterinarian about supplementing your dog's diet with herbal products designed to restore fluid, digestive balance and boost the immune system. We suggest exploring Parvo-K - herbal dog Parvovirus treatment, product made expressly for this purpose. Review the information with your veterinarian who can also track your dog's progress after use.
While this is not a necessary step for all dogs, it can help those that require a little more support.
Prevention of Parvo Dogs
The best way to prevent parvo is with vaccination. Vaccination of dogs is generally performed using one vaccine that prevents multiple diseases including canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, canine adenovirus, leptospira bacterin, and rabies virus.
Puppies are usually vaccinated at 6 weeks, 8 weeks of age followed by another vaccination at 12 weeks. Since 10% of puppies still do not achieve immunity to parvo due to remaining antibodies in their blood from their mother, puppies need a third vaccination at 15 weeks.
Sources for Parvo Dogs
Institute for Med Mikrobiologie
Canine Parvo Virus and Distemper