Parvovirus produces a hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which is very contagious, usually accompanied by a fatal ending. It mainly affects puppies and non-vaccinated animal or those with very low immune systems.
The illness is contracted through fecal – oral contact. The virus is eliminated through the feces of infected, and even recuperated animals. It is not necessary to actually have contact with the feces, the virus can be easily transmitted from one place to the other transported on the animal’s hair, on shoes and other objects. This virus is very resistant to external environmental conditions and survives for long periods.
The first signs of this illness are depression, loss of appetite, fever and diarrhea that can carry blood. Due to the vomiting and diarrhea the dog dehydrates very quickly and this can have fatal consequences for the body.
Some patients can die within the first 48 – 72 hours after the first symptoms. It is important to take the animal to the vet straight away if any of these symptoms are noticed.
Once the illness is detected, we will proceed to alleviate the symptoms and combat the dehydration. The animal will be put in quarantine away from other dogs, to avoid the illness spreading.
The best prevention against this illness is vaccination. The protocol to follow is similar to that of Distemper and that is why they are usually given together:
- 1st Vaccine at 6 – 8 weeks of age
- 2nd Vaccine at 10 – 12 weeks of age
- 3rd Vaccine at 14 – 16 weeks of age
- Annual vaccination
It is recommended to keep the puppy away from other dog feces until it is fully vaccinated.
Hygiene is a very important factor where lots of dogs live together, bleach being the only substance capable of inactivating the virus.