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Parvovirus in Dogs

Parvo can be easily transmitted to your dog through the air and direct contact with water droplets from infected animals. Our vets in Arlington share some important information about parvovirus infections in dogs, the signs and how they can be prevented.

Parvovirus in Dogs

Puppies and unvaccinated dogs of all ages are susceptible to parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Traces of infected dogs' feces spread the virus. Asymptomatic dogs, those who have been infected but have not yet developed symptoms, dogs who have developed symptoms, and those who have recently recovered from the disease can all spread parvo.

Because the disease is so contagious, a person who encounters an infected dog unknowingly can pass the virus on to puppies and other dogs simply by touching them. A loving pat on the head, for example, could be the start of a life-threatening illness.

Other common sources of contamination are leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding.

The Impact of Parvo on Dogs

Parvo is a disease that affects the stomach and small intestine. The virus starts destroying the dog's gut barrier here, attacking healthy cells and preventing essential nutrients from being absorbed.

Parvo also attacks the bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues in puppies, which play essential roles in your dog's immune system. The virus then often affects the heart.

Why Parvovirus is Dangerous for Puppies

Suppose the mother dog has been fully vaccinated against parvovirus. In that case, parvovirus will receive antibodies from her that will protect them against the virus for the first six weeks of their lives. However, as they start to wean at around six weeks old, their immune systems begin to weaken, making them vulnerable to the disease.

For this reason, veterinarians recommend that pet owners start vaccinating their puppies against Parvo at six weeks when the mother's antibodies no longer protect them. It is important to note that puppies will not be fully protected against the disease until they have received all three parvo vaccinations. During the time between weaning and complete vaccination, puppies are most likely to contract parvo.

Your puppy should receive their vaccines against parvovirus at 12 weeks of age. If you are a pet parent, vaccinating your puppy against parvovirus is the best way to guard your new companion's health and other dogs in your household and neighborhood.

What are the symptoms of parvovirus in dogs?

It's critical to realize that once your puppy shows symptoms, they're already very sick. If you suspect parvovirus in your dog, contact your vet immediately. The symptoms include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

Treatment for Parvovirus in Puppies

Although parvo cannot be cured in puppies, your veterinarians can provide supportive treatment to manage symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Adequate hydration and nutrition are crucial for a dog's recovery from parvo.

Due to their weakened immune systems, puppies with parvo often develop secondary infections. Therefore, veterinarians monitor their progress and may prescribe antibiotics to combat bacterial infections.

If treated by a veterinarian and able to survive the first four days after symptoms appear, your puppy is likely to recover from the disease. Typically, parvo in dogs takes about a week to recover from.

If your puppy is diagnosed with parvovirus, it is essential to isolate them from other animals and always wash your hands thoroughly after being near your young dog.

Preventing Parvovirus in Dogs

Allowing your puppy to be around dogs not fully vaccinated against parvovirus is a good idea. While socialization is essential for young dogs, it's also crucial to ensure that the dogs with whom your puppy interacts are fully vaccinated and do not pose a health risk. Consult your veterinarian for advice on how to protect your new four-legged family member best.

Follow your vet's advice and prevent parvovirus by bringing your dog in for vaccines against rabies, and other potentially serious conditions based on a puppy vaccination schedule for your area.

Dogs with viruses like parvovirus risk serious complications; immunity through vaccinations is the best option.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Don't risk your puppy's health. Contact our vets in Arlington to schedule routine vaccinations.

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Crossroads Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Arlington companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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