Canine parvovirus (commonly known as parvo) is a serious condition that affects dogs, especially puppies six months old and younger. The disease inflicts significant suffering and can be life-threatening. The virus is highly resilient and difficult to rid from the environment. It can live on the surface of dog bowls and floors, linger in carpets and attach itself to other inanimate objects. The most common source of infection is from the faeces of an infected dog.
Signs Your Dog May Have Parvovirus
Dogs that have contracted canine parvovirus typically show signs within three to seven days. Lethargy is often the first symptom to appear. If your dog is exhibiting an unusual degree of fatigue, be on the watch for secondary symptoms which include dehydration, severe intestinal damage and shock. Vomiting usually comes before bloody diarrhoea. The diarrhoea of an infected dog is often dark in colour, bloody and malodorous. The longer the diarrhoea is left untreated, the greater the chance of the dog becoming dehydrated. Dogs in the late stages of parvovirus often have a distinctive faeces odour.
Failure to obtain prompt treatment can lead to infections, organ damage, a compromised immune system and other life-threatening conditions. Consult your vet at the earliest sign of trouble. The disease often proves fatal, but you can improve your puppy’s chances of surviving by obtaining treatment right away.
Methods of treatment include antibiotics, intravenous fluids and drugs that control vomiting. In most cases, a dog with parvovirus must be hospitalised, often for several days. Infected dogs should be kept warm and away from other dogs. Their activities and exertion should be limited.
The best way to shield your pet from the severe symptoms of canine parvovirus is through vaccination. For dogs that have contracted parvovirus and survived, the virus lives on in their system for several weeks. Take special care to isolate an infected dog from others. Routinely disinfect dog bowls, toys and other objects that come into contact with an infected dog. Thoroughly clean floors and carpets in every room the dog inhabits. The disease is not always treatable, so prevention is especially important.---
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