3/10/2018 – GERMISTON VET
Parvo, or canine parvovirus (CPV), is a disease that is highly contagious. It spreads very easily from one dog to the next through direct or indirect contact of their faeces. This infection is spread through oral contact of faeces and infected soil or fomites (substances/ objects that are capable of carrying infectious organisms).
Cells that are rapidly diving are attacked by this virus. These cells include ones that are found in lymph nodes, the intestinal lining and bone marrow. White blood cells are needed for the immune system to function properly, which declines and delays the recovery in infected puppies.
Intestinal cells rapidly die which results in sloughing (breaking away) of the intestinal lining, vomiting, diarrhoea and severe intestinal bleeding. When you leave your puppy untreated it can eventually result in death.
There are a few clinical symptoms that you need to look out for. As soon as these symptoms are identified immediate treatment needs to be given to restore the health of the dogs.
The symptoms that you would need to be aware of are:
- Bloody Diarrhoea
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There is NO KNOWN CURE for parvo as it is caused by a virus. A diagnosis is done first with a snap-combo test available at most vets. After positive identification, vets can only treat the symptoms to keep your dog or puppy alive. The treatment is there to prevent dehydration and loss of proteins.
Puppies are at a higher risk of death and they need to be treated intensively. This treatment may last up to a week or more at your vet. Essentially fluid and electrolytes are used with a combination of antibiotics. Puppies also tend to vomit excessively and they are treated with anti-emetics.
Glucose, albumin (a blood protein) and potassium levels need to be monitored and corrected as necessary as puppies are unable to absorb nutrients from the little food they can keep down. Plasma transfusion may also need to be done to treat low protein levels in their blood.
As the dogs or puppies tend to be very nauseous they battle to eat on their own and may need a feeding tube. Infected puppies will need good nursing care when affected by the parvovirus.
Vaccination. This is the one word all pet owners need to remember as this will be the only way to keep your dog from getting infected. All puppies receive their first vaccination at 6 weeks of age with two more thereafter (9 & 12 weeks). When your puppy is brought in they will be assessed and your vet will advise you on the follow-up dates. Thereafter they are then vaccinated annually with parvovirus in the combination.
Care should be taken when you introduce a new puppy into the same environment where a dog has had parvo before. This is because the parvovirus may persist in the environment for long periods of time.
Diluted bleach is recommended to be used to disinfect infected areas. When applied it may take up to 10 min for it to take its full effect.
Remember prevention is better than cure.
Always look for the clinical signs of the parvovirus in your dog or puppy. When similar symptoms are picked up please contact either the Germiston or Sunnyridge Vet to book an appointment for positive identification. Please don’t leave it until it’s too late.
Remember to vaccinate your pets annually to prevent parvo and other diseases that might threaten their life. Call us today to book your appointment. Germiston Vet – 011 902 3507, Sunnyridge Vet – 011 828 4751.