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Parvovirus or Parvo, is life threatening virus that affects dogs. It is the most common viral disease in dogs. It primarily affects puppies. The most common age for infection is between 2-6 months of age, but infection can occur at any age. All breeds are susceptible to this virus. Some breeds such as Dobermans, rottweilers and Labradors are more susceptible to Parvo than others. It is not known why this is.

Parvo is spread through the feces of dogs infected with the virus. The dog does not actually have to come in contact with another sick dog. While Parvo cannot be spread to or from, humans or other pets, the virus can be carried in to the dog’s environment on someone’s shoes, or by birds or other animals who have come in contact with infected feces. Parvo can survive in an environment for as long as 9 months. The only disinfectant known to kill Parvo is chlorine bleach. A 1:30 ratio of chlorine bleach in water has been known to be effective for sanitizing contaminated areas. Any area known to be contaminated should be thoroughly sanitized.

The disease usually enters the dog’s system by oral ingestion. It attacks the digestive system, inhibiting them from absorbing nutrients. It also causes severe diarrhea and often vomiting, dehydration is common. It also suppresses white blood cells and may attack the heart as well.

Symptoms of Parvo include high fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. There is no cure for Parvo. Veterinarians can help infected dogs by treating the symptoms and dehydration. Most dogs die if they do not receive veterinary attention. With veterinary attention, a dog has a reasonably good chance of survival. Early detection is important. Some vets have been trying antitoxins and antiparvo serum with some success.

In some cases, dogs can have Parvo without showing any symptoms. They will not be affected by the disease, but they are capable of spreading it and their feces will be contaminated with the virus.

. A vaccine is available for Parvo. The vaccine is usually given with several other vaccines, including distemper. Vaccination usually begins at 8 weeks of age, and repeated every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is sixteen weeks old, and then given annually. There is some controversy as to whether vaccinating too often may actually weaken a dog’s immunity to Parvo. research is currently being done in this area. Until then, your vet will help you decide what is right for your dog.

Veterinarians can run a titre to determine the strength of a particular dog’s immunity to Parvo. Dogs should be tested for immunity to Parvo before being brought in to an area where a previously infected dog has been.

Links
Parvo
Parvo FAQ's
Parvovirus

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