Bringing home a new dog is fun for many but comes with many responsibilities. It’s more than just providing them with toys and collars, a soft bed, food and treats, grooming tools, etc. But there’s no reason to be skeptical if owners did all the research, figured out the best place for them to play, or even found the best veterinarian, such as aecmemphis.com.
Just like humans, it’s natural for dogs to get sick sometimes. However, owners should be aware of a dangerous common virus that affects hundreds of dogs, called canine parvovirus. If untreated immediately, it can be fatal.
What Is Canine Parvovirus?
Canine parvovirus (CPV), most commonly known as “parvo,” is one of the most serious viruses to kill dogs. It was first discovered in 1967 and is resistant to humidity, cold, heat, and drying. It is hard to die and can live in the environment for a long time. It spreads quickly when an infected dog has direct contact with other dogs or indirect contact with a contaminated object.
The virus primarily infects the small intestine, impairs absorption, destroys cells, and disrupts the gut barrier. In puppies, parvo affects the lymphopoietic tissues and bone marrow, and sometimes the heart. Owners with an infected dog should immediately seek an emergency vet for early treatment.
Symptoms of Parvo
- Loss of appetite
- Bloody diarrhea in dogs
- Persistent vomiting
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Fever or hypothermia (low body temperature)
How Do Dogs Get Parvo?
Puppies at six weeks to 6 months and unvaccinated dogs are the most vulnerable to parvo, while younger puppies younger than six weeks still retain some of their mother’s antibodies. This is possible if the dam completed her full series of parvo vaccinations. Parvovirus enters a dog’s body as they clean themselves or eat food off the ground or floor, with infected feces (even in small amounts).
It spreads directly from an infected dog to another dog. Once infected, a dog contaminates food, water bowls, leashes, collars, beddings, and crates. The incubation period before the first symptoms manifest is between 3 to 7 days. Humans or pet owners can also get the infection through their hands, shoes, or clothing once they touch an infected dog.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Parvo
Sadly, there are no known drugs that can kill the virus up to this date. But available treatments can support a dog’s immune system and help their bodies become stronger to combat the disease. In almost all cases, puppies and dogs with parvo need to receive treatment from the animal hospital.
The vet will give intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and sometimes certain drugs to help control vomiting and avoid dehydration. Vets give antibiotics to an infected dog with secondary infections due to a weakened immune system.
Here are other essential parvo facts to know:
- Infected puppies and dogs must be isolated from other animals.
- Vets and vet nurses should wear special clothes and shoes when treating them, which can be removed and sanitized to prevent the spread of the disease to other patients at the animal hospital or clinic.
- A dog recovering from parvo may stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days.
- Many puppies die from the virus due to weak immune systems.
- Vaccinations against parvo are less expensive than their treatment, which involves staying for several days in intensive care. Click here for more informed emergency vet services.
Choosing the Best Vet Clinic
Choosing a reliable veterinarian is a vital pet owner’s decision for their dog. Together, they will become long-time partners to ensure the patient’s health. In addition to the cost, license, and experience, the location of the clinic or hospital is also a crucial factor to consider. During emergencies, sick dogs are most likely to survive if attended to immediately.
Recommendations from friends, family, or co-workers are one of the best ways to find the right veterinarian. The internet is also an excellent place to look for a vet clinic within any pet owner’s community. Dog owners can find more information here regarding dog emergencies.