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Canine Parvovirus - What You Need to Know

Canine Parvovirus - What You Need to Know

Parvovirus is a highly contagious and dangerous virus for dogs. It can easily spread through contact with infected dogs or objects like toys, bowls, or leashes. In this blog, our vets from Baton Rouge cover all you need to know about parvovirus and how to safeguard your beloved pet.

How Canine Parvovirus 'Parvo' Spreads

Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can make puppies and unvaccinated dogs very sick. The virus is transmitted through traces of feces from dogs that have the infection. Infected dogs that are asymptomatic and haven't started showing any symptoms can spread Parvo, as well as dogs with pups with symptoms and ones that have just recovered from the virus.

The virus is so contagious that someone who has unknowingly been in contact with an infected dog can spread the disease to puppies and other dogs just by touching them. This means that a loving pat on the head can be the beginning of a life-threatening illness.

Things like leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding can also bedding can also carry the virus. Learn how to keep your pup safe. 

The Parvovirus season is at its peak in California in the warmer months of summer and fall. If you have a young puppy or unvaccinated dog, you must call your vet immediately if they start exhibiting symptoms.

The Ways Parvovirus Attacks Your Dog's Body

Parvo is a disease that primarily affects your dog's stomach and small intestines. In these areas, the virus starts destroying the barrier of your dog's gut by attacking healthy cells and blocking the absorption of essential nutrients.

In puppies, it can also harm the bone marrow and immune system tissues, potentially leading to heart problems. 

How Puppies Are More Susceptible to Parvo

If the mother is fully vaccinated against Parvo, the puppies will inherit antibodies from the mother that will keep them safe against the virus during the first 6 weeks of their lives.

However, as the puppies start to wean at about 6 weeks of age, their immune systems become weaker, and the young pups become susceptible to the disease.

Vets urge dog owners to start vaccinating their puppy against Parvo at 6 weeks of age when the puppy starts weaning, and the antibodies from the mother are no longer there to keep them safe.

However, it isn't until the young puppy has received all 3 Parvo vaccinations that they will be protected against the disease. During the gap between weaning and full vaccination, puppies are most likely to catch Parvo.

Your puppy should get their parvovirus vaccines at 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age. If you are a pet parent, having your puppy vaccinated against Parvovirus is one of the best ways you can protect the health of your new friend as well as the health of the other dogs in your home and neighborhood.

The Signs & Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs

It's imperative to understand that once your puppy starts showing symptoms, they are already extremely ill. If you notice your puppy showing any of the symptoms below, contact your vet immediately.

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Treating Parvovirus

Parvovirus has no cure, but your vet can provide treatments to ease symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Your pup must get enough hydration and nutrition in order to recover from Parvovirus.

Because secondary infections are common in puppies with Parvo (because of their weakened immune systems), your vet will monitor your puppy's ongoing condition and might prescribe antibiotics to help combat any bacterial infections that may start to arise.

If your pup gets vet care and makes it through the first four days of symptoms, they can recover. Usually, it takes about a week for dogs to get better from Parvo.

If your puppy is diagnosed with Canine Parvovirus, you must take the proper steps to isolate them from other animals and always thoroughly wash your hands after being around your dog.

Ways You Can Prevent Parvo

Ensure your puppy's safety by avoiding contact with unvaccinated dogs. While your pup must socialize, make sure the dogs they interact with are fully vaccinated to protect their health. Talk to your vet about how best to protect your new four-legged family member.

Follow your vet's advice and have your puppy vaccinated against Parvo, rabies, and other potentially serious conditions based on a puppy vaccination schedule for your area.

Contact our veterinarians in Baton Rouge immediately if your dog or puppy hasn't been vaccinated and is showing parvovirus symptoms. 

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Kleinpeter Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Baton Rouge companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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