Most dog owners have, by now, heard of Parvo and realize it is a deadly disease in dogs. There are some facts about the deadly Parvo Virus that every dog owner, and especially, every new puppy owner, should know.
Puppies are most at risk, especially if they are not vaccinated, but even vaccinated pups and dogs can catch Parvo.
Vaccination usually greatly improves the dogs chances of survival.
While any breed of dog can get Parvo it is more common in Pit Bull Terriers and the dogs with brown legs and black ’saddles’ such as Rottweilers, Dobermans, and so forth.
The Parvo virus itself can live in the environment (in the soil, on cement, on trails, etc., for a year or more. Bleach is the only effective disinfectant.
It is important to note here that puppies are at risk even if they do not leave the home. The Parvo virus can be carried home on their owners shoes or clothing.
Puppies who are not FULLY vaccinated (in most areas they require 2 or three sets of shots) should never be taken out of their yard. They should never be put in an unfenced area where other dogs can roam. Even after the last vaccination they are not fully protected for a few days, allowing the vaccination to become effective.
Because of the risk of Parvo it is suggested that people looking to buy (or adopt) a puppy insist that the pup has had at least one vaccination, at least three days prior to it leaving the home. As well it is suggested the buyer (or adopter) get at least a 10 day, or 2 week, health guarantee on the puppy.
It must be noted that a certain number of adult dogs are infected with Parvo, and shed the virus, but never show any signs of being ill.
Symptoms of Pavro may take 10 days to show up and usually the first symptom is Lethargy.
Typically the animal looses interest in food, and has diarrhea, which in advanced stages is often black with dead tissue in it, and will then have an extremely foul smell.
Vomiting is not uncommon, and the puppy will usually run a fever.
Dehydration and death often follow if not treated – Parvo is 91% fatal if untreated.
Just so people do not spend hours looking for home remedies while their puppy is dying, I want to point out there are NO home remedies. The puppy needs veterinary attention.
A diagnosis can be made from a stool sample, although if the puppy is in the advanced stages it should be brought into the veterinarian immediately along with the sample. The vet will work to rehydrate the puppy or dog and treat it accordingly. Treatment for Parvovirus typically involves long stays in the veterinary clinic (often hooked up to an IV) and can be costly. Some owners opt for euthanasia. Survival rates are roughly 80 – 90 % depending on how soon the puppy was taken to the vet, and if it has had a vaccination previously.
If your Puppy has Had Parvo…
Immediately bleach your home thoroughly, including cement areas in your yard. Mow the lawn and bag up the clippings, rather than allowing them to sit on your lawn. This will need to be done for at least the next 3 mowings. Wash all hard dog toys and bowls with bleach – throw out any plastic items (especially bowls) as they can never be really cleaned.
Alert your neighbors, especially those with dogs, that your puppy has had Parvo. If they have unvaccinated dogs they will want to be watchful and perhaps take their own dogs in for vaccination (adult dogs can get Parvo too).
If you have had your puppy for less than 10 days contact whomever you got it from. Chances are your pup had Parvo before you got it from them, and if you have a health guarantee they should honor it, as well if they had other pups or dogs they will want to be made aware of the health concern.
Because a few dogs can get Parvo and shed the virus while never getting ill themselves it is of utmost importance that all dog owners pick up after their pet. Keep in mind that the Parvovirus can live in the environment for a year, as such if left the feces could deteriorate after a week, but the virus is still present in the area, and could be tracked home by any unsuspecting puppy owner on their shoes.
Canine Parvovirus is not contagious to humans or most other pets, however Mink and Raccoons may be at risk.
There are other forms of Parvo, including one that infects puppies while in utero or shortly after birth, and kills them before 8 weeks of age (the symptom of which is labored breathing then death). This is called Cardiac Parvo and pups get it from their mothers. As such pregnant dogs, and nursing dogs, should never leave their owners fenced yard or be near other dogs or people who have been around other dogs.
Never pay a cent for a dog or puppy that is not vaccinated or come with some sort of health guarantee!
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