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  • Writer's pictureJosie

What is Parvovirus?

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

So, you just picked up your brand new puppy, and it only has one set of vaccines, but you are just so very excited to show the world your furry friend. It should be safe, right? They already had one set of shots! Unfortunately, the answer is no! When I first picked up Athena, I was extremely nervous about her vaccination status and where to take her. Is it safe to let her outside in the backyard? Can she go to the park? What about training? It is always best practice to find out from your Vet what infections are most common and ways to prevent them. During our first visit, we discussed the canine parvovirus for dogs. It turns out, it is pretty rampant in the Valley.

What exactly is the parvovirus?

 The parvovirus is a viral infection that can affect either the intestines or the heart. Either can be fatal if the puppy is not vaccinated or isn't treated early enough. When the virus affects a dog's intestines, it causes dehydration due to the intestines not being able to absorb nutrients. Cardiac parvovirus isn't as frequent, but it attacks the heart muscle. The most common age that puppies are affected by parvovirus is six weeks to six months. Parvo is typically transferred via dog feces or direct contact. This includes your puppy sniffing other dog's feces. Previously contaminated ground is also believed to be infectious for up to a year. Some breeds are considered more susceptible such as German Shepherds, Rottweiler's, Labs, American Stafford Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, and English Springer Spaniels. Unfortunately, there is not a cure for a viral infection. The primary treatment will include symptom management and preventing secondary issues from parvo, such as dehydration. 

What can you do to help your puppy?

 Recognize the signs and symptoms: Lethargy, anorexia, fever, vomiting, severe weight loss, and severe diarrhea that can be bloody. Some tips the Vet gave me were: Complete the full vaccination schedule on time, avoid all public areas, do not go to dog parks until one week after the last vaccination in the program, and only allow play with trusted vaccinated dogs in the regions that have been parvo free for at least 10 years (this includes your home.) Remember that the virus is tough to kill and is resistant to most household cleaners. 

Athena waiting at the Vet for her vaccines

The parvovirus can be fatal to puppies whose immune systems are not yet developed. Stick to these tips to help avoid infection.

Thanks fur the read,

The Pawsitive Writer

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