Parvovirus in Dogs – How to Cure It

One of the deadliest diseases to strike at pet health, especially in the winter months, is the parvovirus. Parvo is a fairly recent disease, discovered in the late '70s. Canine parvovirus is similar to feline distemper. Actually, they are both in the parvovirus family. Since its discovery in 1978, parvo has surfaced as the foremost health risk for our dogs. Millions of dogs will die each year of this terrible disease. This is a very regrettable fact since parvo is so easy to vaccinate against. This means that the responsibility falls upon us, the pet owners.

Parvovirus hits the cells in the intestines, causing ruthless damage to the intestinal lining. The virus is ingested through the mouth and takes three days to two weeks to show up as physical symptoms. Due to damage to the intestinal lining, severe watery / bloody diarrhea occurs with vomiting. There are three main causes of death from this virus. The most frequent cause of death is dehydration. Secondly, since puppies have little fat storage, they have a hard time maintaining their blood sugar. Finally, bacterial infections can affect pet health and other organs causing sepsis. When the animal shows physical symptoms is when it is contagious to others and sheds the virus in its feces. The virus is very hardy; it can live in the environment for well over two years. This means that a puppy visiting the outdoors could have parvo and then two years later a puppy playing in the same place could catch the disease. So, if parvo lasts this long in the environment, there really is nowhere safe from this silent killer. Also, because of the shape of the virus particle it is considered sticky. This stickiness helps spread the virus by clinging to puppies' legs or even our shoes. Later puppies would groom their fur or play with our shoes and get infected. These facts go to show no puppy that is unvaccinated is safe from this disease no matter how clean you keep the environment.

Where pet health is concerned, parvo is an easy disease to vaccinate against. A series of two to three vaccines makes it virtually impossible to get the virus. Another way to keep your puppies safe is to make sure that the mother of the puppies is vaccinated before she gets pregnant. Usually the Parvovirus vaccine is just one part of a combination vaccine usually consisting of distemper virus, parainfluenza virus, Corona virus, adenovirus virus, and different strains of leptosporosis. These vaccines can be given at any veterinary office. When you get a puppy from somebody, it is very important to ask if they have been vaccinated yet. If they said yes, ask if the breeder gave the vaccine or if it was given at a veterinary office and how the vaccine was stored. Many breeders do a great job vaccinating but fail to store the vaccine correctly. If the puppy is unvaccinated, get the vaccine process started quickly.

Unfortunately, sometimes even with the best of pet health plans our pets contract this virus. Early diagnosis and treatment is key. Unfortunately, even with the best care the parvo disease can be up to fifty percent fatal. Survivability increases with age. The pet health of an eight-month-old dog has a much better chance to surviving the virus than a three-month-old. In closing, early vaccinations are inexpensive and necessary to prevent this disease. There is no simpler way to keep this virus from your home. If you have had an animal with parvovirus and you are looking for a new puppy, make sure it has had at least two vaccinations before bringing her into your home. If you take on the responsibility of dog ownership, you should also take the responsibility of proper care, which includes vaccinations.

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