Canine parvovirus Parvo in Pups: Risks, Prevention
Our team here at BrightCare includes highly trained professionals like our Veterinary Specialist, Dr. Nguyen. We wish to share with our readers some useful information on the Parvovirus.
We try to review common emergencies to educate pet owners on how to react when there is a veterinary emergency at home. While the most efficient thing to do is prevent emergencies, responsible pet owners do well to prepare to help their pets during any emergency.
Since the canine parvovirus appeared in 1978, the veterinary community has had to fight an uphill battle to treat this disease. Fortunately, pet owners can rest assured that there are plenty of tools at our disposal to help treat any puppy who catches this virus.
What is Canine Parvovirus
Parvoviruses have infected many species ranging from birds to mammals like canines (dogs and wild animals like wolfs and foxes) and even humans. This virus can successfully infect young dogs more frequently than older ones.
Puppies whose immune systems haven’t fully matured and who can no longer rely on their mother’s antibodies for protection are at increased risk of suffering from Parvo.
This viral infection quickly attacks rapidly dividing cells in your dog’s body. These cells are present around your dog’s throat and digestive tract. From there, the virus enters your pet’s bloodstream, spreading to other sensitive areas.
This infection aims to attack your puppy’s immune system, destroy white cells, and produce significant fluid loss, dehydrating your dog. It can quickly prove deadly, so it’s essential to learn how to manage the symptoms, get professional help soon, and prevent the disease.
Originally dubbed CPV, this Canine Parvovirus has mutated a couple of times after jumping from other species to canines back in the late 60s. Currently, CPV-2b is in circulation here in the US, and there are some reports of a new variant detected in other places. If you are interested in additional scholarly research, please consult with this research identifying the circulation of CPV-2c.
Some data suggest that black and tan dog breeds, like Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers, are more susceptible to infection by canine parvovirus. However, these studies appear to suffer from an apparent over-representation of said breeds in veterinary environments. You can check the conclusions of one such study right here.
A Veterinary Specialist Discusses Puppy Parvo Transmission
You can quickly sterilize any environment from Parvovirus, destroying it easily with diluted chlorine bleach, other disinfectants, steam, and even sunlight. Unfortunately, parvo may easily reinfect any sterile environment.
Dogs come into contact with this virus through an infected dog’s feces, blood, or vomit. The virus can also easily cling to the soil, shoes, tires, insects, rodents, and other environmental factors like water and wind.
Considering that dog are a species bent on smelling and licking almost everything as part of their sensory interaction with the environment, it is no doubt that some veterinary specialists claim all of the world’s dogs have been exposed to canine parvovirus.
Puppies are at an increased risk. Puppies anywhere between 6 and 20 weeks of age are especially susceptible.
How Long Are Infected Puppies Dangerous to Other Dogs?
The incubation period can vary from 3 to 7 days before your dog starts showing any symptoms or clinical signs of infection. Within that period, infected dogs can easily shed huge amounts of the virus in shared environments and infect other dogs.
Puppies may continue shedding the virus for up to 10 days after their recovery. Therefore, all pet owners with several dogs should isolate recovering puppies from other dogs for some time after they’ve made a full recovery.
Talk to a veterinary specialist about the best ways to sterilize your home after your puppy has made a complete recovery. After all, the virus may survive indoors even for another month. It could even prevail up to a year in some outdoor conditions.
You could also follow this link for a comprehensive guide of Parvo and what tips are available to disinfect an area. Regrettably, there is no way to sterilize any environment permanently, and we cannot provide you with a precise estimate of how long an environment can remain infected.
These challenges are what compel us to emphasize the importance of prevention.
How does a Veterinary Specialist Prevent Parvo in Puppies with Vaccinations?
There’s still some good news to share. Parvo is preventable. We highly encourage responsible pet owners to take their puppies and adult dogs to receive parvo vaccinations. Also, considering just how dependant puppies are on their mother’s antibodies, you should vaccinate any female adults.
This vaccine will usually come as a combination shot including distemper, canine adenovirus, and protection against other common illnesses.
Ask your dog’s veterinarian about the vaccination plan, but these shots usually happen every 3 or 4 weeks since the puppy is 6 weeks old until they are at least 16 weeks old.
Keep in mind booster vaccinations. Your dog’s veterinary specialist might recommend one a year after your puppy’s initial course, and then others every 3 years.
Keep in mind how easy it is for dogs to catch parvo in public spaces, so be careful when taking your dog out for a walk. We are not saying don’t let your dogs play, we are simply reminding you to supervise your puppy if they are at a vulnerable age.
If at all possible, limit any contact with unvaccinated pets until your puppy receives their full course of parvo vaccinations.
It’s still possible that a small percentage of dogs do not develop protective immunity against parvo even after their vaccinations, which is why you should never let even adult dogs come into contact with other dogs’ feces or vomit.
Get Help From a Professional Veterinary Specialist
We will be updating this comprehensive guide to include even more information about parvo in puppies. There will also be a separate guide for a similar illness for cats. In the meantime, please consult with your dog’s veterinary specialist if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
Quick action is the second-best way to keep your pet safe. The first is to prevent these illnesses. Remember to vaccinate your puppies!