Parvovirus: Big Impact, Severe Consequences, Easily Prevented
From the Vets at Middletown Animal Hospital
At Middletown Animal Hospital we have seen 2 puppies die within the last 2 days because people wait too long to get them treated. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they will get better on their own. Parvo will KILL if not treated as soon as possible.
Canine parvovirus is a very common problem that is a huge killer of puppies. The virus can affect dogs of all ages, but the majority of cases occur in puppies less than 6 months of age. It is the most common infectious disorder in dogs and misinformation about this disease is widespread. With a better understanding of parvovirus, what it is, how it is contracted, and how to help prevent it, we can reduce its spread, morbidity, and mortality rate in our canine pets.
Parvovirus is spread through contact with feces that contains the virus. It is a very hardy virus, surviving for 5 months or longer in the right conditions. The virus is found in the soil and can live on inanimate objects, such as clothing, food bowls, and cage floors. It is important to properly disinfect your environment if it has been exposed to parvovirus to help prevent further spread. Inactivation of the virus can be accomplished using a bleach solution (1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon water).
Once a dog has contracted the virus, it can take between 7 and 14 days before clinical signs of the disease appear. Parvovirus is characterized by vomiting, which is often severe, diarrhea, bloody feces, fever, lethargy, and anorexia. A less common form is inflammation of the heart. The consequences of parvovirus are severe dehydration, shock, sepsis (infection throughout the body), and death. Death can occur as quickly as 2 days after the onset of the disease.