Despite it being a disease that not many new puppy owners know about, parvo is a potentially fatal disease that you should be aware of and actively seek to prevent. But how? Below we go into detail of what parvo is, why it’s so dangerous for your pup, and how we can help you prevent it going forward.
What is parvo?
Parvo is a virus among dogs that is highly contagious. It’s especially prevalent among puppies and young dogs which means we need to keep an especially close eye on our babies as they play and grow! In particular, any dog between 6 weeks and 6 months old are at risk of contracting parvovirus – especially if they haven’t been vaccinated or are incompletely vaccinated.
There are also certain breeds of dogs that are more susceptible to contracting parvovirus, though we aren’t entirely certain why. These breeds include rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, and American Staffordshire Terriers.
Parvo is known to be a virus that causes gastrointestinal illness (GI illness) that is infectious, which is why it’s crucial to keep your pup apart from others if they’re diagnosed with it. Parvo can be spread via multiple channels. It can be spread by direct contact with a dog infected with the virus, or through faeces that dogs come into contact with.
Pups can also contract parvovirus by coming into indirect contact with the disease. This could be via it lingering on clothing, toys, equipment, or even on bare human skin.
One of the scariest things about parvovirus is that symptoms typically don’t start showing until 4-5 days after the dog has begun to shed the virus. This means that your pup could unknowingly be transmitting the virus to others in that time. The parvovirus is also especially resilient compared to other strains – it can shockingly survive on surfaces for up to 2 months, surviving a number of disinfectants and even at room temperature.
What are the symptoms of parvo?
Parvo has a number of symptoms, as we’ve outlined below:
- Weight loss
- Bloody and severe diarrhea
How can parvo be prevented?
You can help prevent your pup contracting parvo by keeping atop of their vaccinations. You can get parvo-specific vaccinations, which help equip your dog with the antibodies needed to protect against the disease. This is administered at first over 2 shots (6-8 weeks old, 10-12 weeks old), then a booster 1 year after.
If you suspect your dog has parvo, then you need to get in touch with your vet immediately so that they can advise you on how to proceed. This would likely include isolation of the infected dog, either at your home or in the vets, and thorough cleaning of as many areas that your dog has come into contact with as possible. Most likely, your dog will be hospitalised in a ward with your vet, where he or she can monitor them at a close and consistent level.
Talk to Illawara Animal Hospital today
Get in touch with us and we can advise you further on how to deal with parvo and prevent the spread of the virus even further. At present, we have 3 clinics open for you and your pets; one at Yallah, one at Figtree and one at Cannon & Ball Wollongong. We have a team of dedicated, passionate, and professional vets and nurses waiting to nurse your precious pet back to full health.