We’ve all heard of all the horrible viruses our beloved pets could catch through many different exposures they are subject to in their day-to-day life. Starting with the tree they sniff on while taking a walk, to practically any object lying around that they try to consume,anything a dog attempts to get in contact with could be contaminated, especially other pets and animals.
That is why we are careful to vaccinate our dogs, keep their personal tools hygienically clean and take precautionary measures against ticks, fleas and other illness-carrying parasites. This also applies to the cleanliness of our homes or the place our furry friends reside to insure them and thus, ourselves, a healthy, flourishing lifestyle.
First, to be able to completely protect oneself or one’s dog from an illness, one hast to be very well informed about it, its risks, causes, conditions and types, as well as its carriers, symptoms and necessary actions in case of contamination. This article aims to educate you in all things relating to the Canine Parvovirus infection and to help you understand the condition and be more prepared to protect and/or heal your dog from its dangers.
The Canine Parvovirus Infection is a viral, wide-spread disease that affects dogs. This vicious virus reveals itself in two different forms; the more common and the less common ones.
The most occurring case is the intestinal form. Its symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, sudden weight loss accompanied by an unusual lack of appetite, which may eventually lead to anorexia.
The rather uncommon version of the virus is the cardiac form. This type attacks the heart muscles of young puppies and fetuses and often, sadly, ends with the death of its victim.
The virus is mostly noticeable in puppies aged between six weeks and six months. Recent awareness-spreading by veterinarians and the early vaccination of young pups has helped the percentage of canine parvovirus infection in dogs drop radically.
The following paragraph will delve deeper into the signs and symptoms of Parvo and will help form a clearer image of the sickness in effect through a detailed description of the way it functions and explicit description of a Parvo victim dog’s condition.
The Signs & Symptoms
These are the most visible and common symptoms that occur when the intestinal Canine Parvovirus is in effect:
Severe, bloody diarrhea
Severe weight loss
What makes Canine Parvo Virus extremely dangerous is that it’s fatal. The intestinal type of the illness affects and hinders the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and therefore causes quick dehydration and spreads an overall weakness in the affected animal, due to the lack of protein and fluid in the body.
The next step into the infection would then be the physically visible signs on the dog. The mouth tissue and the eyes start turning red, and the heart would then beat more rapidly than usual. The dog will also react with pain and discomfort to a veterinary examination of the abdominal area. Dogs and pups with contacted Canine Parvo Virus could also display a low body temperature, referred to as hypothermia, instead of a fever.
How Parvo Spreads
The majority of Canine Parvo Virus infections are a result of a genetic alteration of the original Canine Parvovirus; the Canine Parvovirus type 2b. The risk factors increasing a dog’s receptivity to this virus are not to be taken lightly. Parvovirus is spread directly, through contact with an infected dog or animal, but also indirectly, via the fecal/oral way.
A large concentration of the virus is found in an infected dog’s stool; therefore one must pay close attention to what our pets are sniffing in the streets, as it could lead to a very dangerous contamination. It’s always also best to keep your dog away from sniffing shoes, whether they are yours or a friend’s, and to always keep them outside the house and clean them regularly just in case, as the sole of which could also be a carrier of the disease – you never know what you could have stepped on without noticing.
The virus has been scientifically proven to be able to survive in ground soil for up to an entire year. It also happens to be immune against most cleaning products, as well as independent from the weather and its undergoing changes. The first step after acknowledging a Parvovirus contaminated area is to get rid of all organic material and explicitly wash the area with a bleach solution to ensure the killing of the virus.
If you happen to get a dog from the shelter, allow your veterinarian to re-vaccinate it as most shelters tend to skip that phase due to overpopulation. An extended vaccination protocol is recommended with certain breeds more vulnerable to the disease, such as: Pitbull, Labrador retriever, Rottweiler, German shepherd, Alaskan Sled-dog, Doberman pinscher and English springer spaniel.
How Parvo is Diagnosed
The Canine Parvovirus is diagnosed via a physical examination, as well as biochemical tests and a feces test specialized for Parvovirus discovery. One could also diagnose it through undergoing urine analysis, getting abdominal radiographs done or through abdominal ultrasounds. The low levels of white blood cells and noticeable dehydration are red alarms for the virus.
Make sure to keep an updated notebook with your pet’s health history and hand it to your veterinarian in case of Parvovirus suspicion, as your pup’s vaccination history and activities will help its doctor determine its case, exposures and possible contagion.