Canine parvovirus, or "parvo" as it is commonly known, is a virus that usually attacks the canine intestinal tract, and in rare cases, the heart. It is one of the most resistant viruses know since it is able to withstand heat, cold, and most common disinfectants.
What are the symptoms?
The initial signs of parvo are loss of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, fever, and depression. These symptoms are often accompanied by foul-smelling or bloody diarrhea that can lead to death.
WHich Dogs Get It?
Although the virus can attack puppies and dogs of any age, it is most commonly found in dogs under one year old. Unsterilized dogs are more likely to get the virus since they're more likely to roam and less likely to have been vaccinated.
How is Parvo treated?
Treatment usually includes hospitalization, intravenous fluids, and medication to control vomiting, diarrhea, and secondary infections.
How Is Parvovirus Transmitted?
Parvovirus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's feces and vomit. Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from a park.
How is parvo prevented?
Simply keep your dog up-to-date on vaccinations. It is usually recommended that puppies be vaccinated every 2-3 weeks until they are 4 months of age. Older dogs who have not received full puppy vaccination series may be susceptible to parvovirus and should also receive yearly immunizations. Consult with your veterinarian about how often your dog will need to be revaccinated.