How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus
In general, this is how to know if your dog has parvovirus: after three to four days from infection you might notice fever, depression, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea.
The parvovirus (or canine parvoriosis) is one of the most common diseases in dogs and one for which we barely have any information. If the symptoms are unknown these can lead to misdiagnosis and be confused with a common gastrointestinal infection. This viral disease can be very serious in adult dogs and deadly in puppies as during the first months of life the pet's immune system is weak and more likely to get infections. To answer your questions about this disease, in this oneHOWTO article we explain how to tell if your dog has parvovirus. Do not neglect the health of your pet. Carefully read each of the following guidelines.
What is canine parvovirus?
Canine parvoriosis is a serious infectious disease caused by a type 2 virus called parvo virus that affects the gastrointestinal system, red blood cells and, in severe cases or in puppies can attack the heart muscle.
It was only a few years ago that this disease was detected and therefore there is little information available and the chances of survival are low. 80% of dogs have been in contact with this virus that is mainly transmitted through infected faeces. It is very important to properly disinfect contaminated soil that has been in contact with infected faecal matter; the parvo virus is highly resistant and can remain for months in soil and contaminated objects. Most detergents and disinfectants are not sufficient to eliminate traces and the most effective products are chlorine bleach and water.
How is parvovirus spread?
To find out if your dog has canine parvoriosis you must first understand how the disease is transmitted. The canine parvovirus mostly attacks puppies under 6 months, adult or older dogs and vaccinated dogs and those that have not been treated for parasites. It is essential to deworm our dogs and have them vaccinated to prevent these kinds of diseases. Other factors that help the development of this disease can be stress, intestinal parasites, overcrowded living conditions or low energy. Breeds like german shepherd, doberman, pittbull or rottwailer are more vulnerable to the parvovirus that other breeds.
Canine parvoriosis is highly contagious, evolves at high speed and is transmitted through oral contact with infected faeces or contaminated material such as soil, food bowls or even our own shoes. In the case of puppies it may happen through lactation if the mother is a carrier. Objects can become contaminated through contact with our shoes after having stepped on infected faeces, through another infected dog or by contact with rodents faeces.
What are the symptoms of canine parvovirus?
The canine parvoriosis usually takes three to four days to develop and symptoms may vary depending on the affected system. To find out if your dog has parvovirus, you should pay special attention to identify symptoms.
When it affects the gastrointestinal system symptoms are:
- Fever (The first symptom)
- Listless mood / depression
- Shortness of breath, weakness and excessive panting
- Lack of appetite / Anorexia
- Foamy vomiting
- Bloody diarrhoea with strong odour
- Dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhoea
When the parvo attacks the heart muscle, dyspnea and arching of the body are further symptoms. In puppies or very severe cases myocarditis may occur. The cardiac form parvovirus in puppies usually ends with sudden death due to the weak immune system of the animal.
Treatment for dogs with parvovirus
If your dog or puppy has any of the above symptoms go to the vet to have the animal analysed and diagnosed. Once the virus is detected treatment for parvovirus should begin immediately. Because of its recent discovery, there is no specific medication to treat the disease. So veterinarians often base treatment on combating dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and by trying to control vomiting and diarrhoea to prevent the infection from increasing. Until it is completely cured your pet must not be in contact with other dogs.
For the parvovirus disease the best treatment is prevention. To prevent your dog developing canine parvoriosis it is essential to strictly follow the vaccination plan assigned by the veterinarian, have the animal dewormed, maintain proper hygiene of both the dog and its environment, wash its food bowl often and keep food in a place where rodents cannot reach it.
Remember that before the first vaccinations your puppy may not be in contact with other dogs or go out. Through mothers' feeding milk the puppy can contract the disease; this can be combated with the relevant vaccines and be remove from the system unnoticed. And because the virus is spread through faeces you must avoid your puppy coming into contact with its own stool.
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- It is very important that you disinfect all contaminated material to help treat your dog.