It is possible for a dog to contract the highly contagious Canine parvovirus even if it never leaves its own yard. Parvovirus can result in a slow and painful death. Fortunately, dogs can be vaccinated against this disease.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
General information Humans can not become infected with parvovirus.
Parvovirus was first identified in 1978.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a viral infection which has two forms.
The less common form effects the heart muscles of puppies under the age of eight weeks and is often fatal. It is sometimes referred to as 'cardiac parvovirus'. The puppy usually contracts the disease before it is born from its mother who has parvo.
The more common variety is 'intestinal parvovirus' and symptons are covered in the next section.
Symptoms of intestinal parvovirus A dog with intestinal parvo usually has diarrhoea which may contain visible blood and severe vomiting. These symptoms lead to dehydration. Usually the dog will have a fever but sometimes the opposite occurs with the dog developing hypothermia. The heart beat may become rapid and the dog will be weak and lethargic.
How the disease is spread A dog may contract parvo from contact with an infected dog or its faeces. The infection may be brought into the backyard on the shoes of someone who has accidentally stepped on faeces of a dog with parvo. Flies can transmit the disease. The virus can live in soil for a year or even longer.
Dogs particularly at risk Some breeds are more vulnerable to parvo. These include:
Alaskan sled dogs
English Springer Spaniels
Doberman Pinscher Image courtesy of Pixabay
Vaccination Young puppies should gain immunity from their mother if she is up to date with her vaccinations. Then a puppy will need a series of three injections three to four weeks apart. After that a yearly booster shot is required to maintain protection against parvo. A vet can give the best advice about vaccination to protect your puppy/dog.
Seek veterinary advice If your dog shows any of the symptoms of parvo it is important to get veterinary treatment immediately. The death rate of non vaccinated puppies that contract parvo is greater than 80%. Where the diagnosis is parvo advice should also be sought from the vet about ways to stop the disease being passed on to other dogs in the area.
Parvo is a contagious disease that is often fatal. The best way of preventing your dog contracting the disease is by keeping up to date with vaccinations.