Tuesday's Tips from our Doctors!
Recently our Doctors asked how they could share some facts about the common (and not so common) things that can effect the health of our pets in S. Florida. This is what we can up with. Be on the look out for more Tips from our Doctors and be sure to let us know what other things you would like to know about!
What is “Parvo”?
Canine parvovirus is a very contagious gastrointestinal virus that can affect dogs of all ages. This virus can be deadly if left untreated. Unvaccinated puppies are at the highest risk, especially those less than four months of age. Parvovirus is spread by direct contact with contaminated stool from other infected dogs and puppies. This virus is very resistant to heat and cold, and unfortunately for this reason can live in the environment for long periods of time. It is important to understand that any places where dogs have access to could potentially have parvovirus in the soil. The virus can also contaminate leashes, dog beds, kennels, and food bowls.
What are the signs and symptoms?
If you notice your puppy is acting lethargic, has a decreased appetite or begins to vomit or have diarrhea contact your veterinarian immediately! All of these symptoms could be signs that your puppy may have been exposed to parvovirus. Most puppies that are infected with parvovirus will become very dehydrated and can die within 72 hours if not treated aggressively.
How is Parvovirus treated?
The most important aspect of treating your puppy with parvovirus is hydration and helping to control the vomiting and diarrhea. Recently, some human antiviral drugs have had some benefit in treating dogs with parvovirus. Puppies will also need to be treated with antibiotics in order to help prevent secondary bacterial infections. Any dog or puppy that is diagnosed with parvovirus needs to be immediately isolated from other dogs so that they cannot further spread the infection.
How can Parvovirus be prevented?
Most importantly vaccinating puppies and keeping them isolated from other dogs before their vaccine series is completed can prevent parvovirus. Many owners do not realize that one vaccine is not enough to protect their puppy from parvovirus. Puppies must complete their minimal three vaccine series before they are able to socialize with other dogs, especially at places like the dog park and beach.
Oklahoma State University, 2015