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Canine Parvovirus

  • by Bec
  • 3 min read
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Just this week I was reading an article in our local newspaper about the high number of Parvovirus cases that have been presenting to the local vet clinics in the last month.  I found this revelation upsetting as although it is highly contagious, Parvovirus can be avoided by vaccinating your dog.  So I thought I would share a little bit of information on Parvovirus and the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious and often fatal virus infecting dogs.  Parvo, as it is more commonly known, attacks the gastrointestinal tract and the cardiovascular system of the dog.  It is most common in young puppies, aged six to twenty weeks, and in adolescent and adult unvaccinated dogs.

High levels of the Parvovirus are excreted in an infected dogs faeces.  It then spreads to other dogs via oral or nasal contact with the infected faeces or contaminated objects or contaminated environment.  Parvovirus is a very hardy and resistant virus and can survive in an environment and on objects for up to several months.

The signs or symptoms of Parvovirus start with a loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, vomiting and diarrhea (often containing blood) and it can progress very quickly.  This can then lead to extreme dehydration and heart damage.  If any signs of Parvo are seen the dog should be rushed to a veterinary clinic for examination by a vet and they can confirm, by testing the faeces, whether it is Parvo.   There is no antiviral treatment to treat the Parvo virus and therefore treatment involves supportive care, managing the dehydration, vomiting and using antibiotics to prevent or treat any secondary bacterial infections that may arise.  Dogs with Parvovirus must be isolated from other dogs and care must be taken when handling them and any equipment ensuring that it is properly disinfected using an effective product like F10 SC Veterinary Disinfectant.  Without treatment approximately 95% of dogs will die and even with treatment the fatality rate is over 65%.

The way to protect your beloved dog from catching the virus is by vaccinating.  Puppies should be vaccinated at four week intervals at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and then 14-16 weeks of age.  They then need to receive an annual vaccination.  All dogs should receive an annual vaccination and if the vaccination history is not known I suggest speaking with your vet as to whether the dog requires a full course.

In my time as a vet nurse I would say that I have only seen maybe six or seven cases of Parvovirus.  Of these cases I remember three of the dogs dying while in care at the clinic.  It was one the most horrible illnesses I have seen, it was so sad to see these dogs severely suffering and sometimes not winning the battle, from a virus that we can protect them from.  I plead with everyone to have your dogs vaccinated so that they can avoid this horrendous virus.

If you are concerned with your dogs health, unsure of their vaccination history or have any questions about Parvovirus please contact your veterinarian.   If your dog does show signs of Parvo please rush them to a vet as soon as possible, as early intervention and treatment gives the best chance of survival.  But as always Prevention is better than Treatment!!

Until next time,

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