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How Dangerous is Canine Parvovirus

Things A Dog Owner Should Know About Canine Parvo Virus

Canine ParvoVirus is the worst nightmare for every puppy owner because it makes a perfectly healthy puppy fatally ill within a few days. But this is a preventable disease. However, every new puppy owners and breeders need to know about the risks of Parvo, how it spreads, and how to prevent it if a puppy catches this virus.

What is Canine Parvovirus?

The Canine Parvovirus (CPV) disease is also known as Parvo and is a contagious viral illness that affects dogs, especially puppies between 6 weeks to 6 months old. It causes infection in two different varieties –

  • Intestinal, which is indicated by vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Cardiac, which is less common but can cause a deadly attack on the heart muscles of young puppies

How Does Parvo Spread?

The canine Parvovirus can be transmitted in two ways.

  • The first way is by direct contact through the mouth and nose with infected poop, which can happen when a puppy licks or sniffs a surface. When a puppy poops or vomits, these are loaded with the live virus, which is called ‘shedding’ the virus. It is spread when one puppy sheds the virus and the other is exposed. An infected dog can start shedding the Parvovirus after 4 to 5 days of exposure and sometimes before the puppy starts showing any symptoms of the disease. Puppies will continue to shed the virus while they are sick and up to ten days after they are recovered.
  • The second way of transmission is through indirect contact. Parvovirus can survive on an infected puppy, on a person’s shoe, in a contaminated lawn, on a rug, in a kennel carrier, in a snow pile, at a dog wash, on a dog bed, and the list goes on. Indirect transmission occurs when a healthy puppy comes in contact with the contaminated object or person.  

So, accurate diagnosis and quarantine are essential for the health of your puppies and of other puppies, as well.

Symptoms of Parvo Virus in Puppies:

Puppies that develop the disease tend to show the symptoms within 3 to 7 days. Every puppy owner and breeder needs to be aware of the symptoms. Some most common symptoms are –

  • Severe, bloody diarrhea
  • Red, inflamed tissue around the eyes and mouth
  • Severe weight loss
  • Low body temperature
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Anorexia

Treatment of Parvo Virus in Puppies:

If your puppy shows the symptoms mentioned earlier, it needs instant veterinary attention because Parvo is a lethal virus that needs intensive care. Your vet will recommend hospitalizing your pup in an isolation ward where the vet will offer supportive care and monitor your puppy for secondary infection.

Depending on the severity of the case, doctors may prescribe your puppy a series of medications, including antibiotics, to prevent bacterial infections from entering into your pup through the damaged walls of the intestine.

Parvovirus also reduces the immune power of your puppy by lowering the white blood cell count. Your vet will provide your pup with supportive fluids, nutrition, and medication that will help the pup recover soon. Puppies that survive the first three to four days will make a sooner recovery within a week.

Prevention of Parvo Virus:

Canine Parvovirus is a preventable disease. Vaccines for this virus are recommended for all puppies and are usually given in three doses. First is when the pup is between 6 to 8 weeks old, second at 10 to 12 weeks, and third at 14 to 16 weeks. A booster dose is prescribed after one year and every three years after that.

Dog owners shouldn’t place their puppies in situations like training classes or daycare until they have completed their vaccination at 14 to 16 weeks age.

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