PARVOVIRUS IN DOGS
WHERE DOES PARVO COME FROM?
Parvovirus has been around since the 1970s, is hard to disinfect, and is shed in extremely large numbers by infected dogs. This means that there is virus everywhere: on every carpet, on every floor, in every yard and park.
Parvovirus infection occurs primarily in puppies, however adult dogs can occasionally become infected. The most important factors in whether parvovirus infection occurs seem to be the experience the dog’s immune system has had with the virus plus the number of viral particles the dog is exposed to.
Restrict dogs from public outdoor areas
until vaccinations are complete at 16 weeks of age.
The virus enters the body through the mouth as the puppy cleans itself or eats food off the ground or floor. A minuscule amount of infected stool is all it takes.
There is a 3 to 7 day incubation period before the puppy seems obviously ill.
2. Diarrhea (often with blood)
3. Lack of appetite
4. Abdominal pain
Parvovirus is a deadly virus. The vomiting and diarrhea resulting from the infection leads to extreme dehydration until shock and death occurs and/or the dog becomes septic from bacterial invasion into the bloodstream from a damaged intestinal barrier.
Treatment for parvoviral infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure.
BE PREPARED FOR A 5 to 7 DAY HOSPITAL STAY AND SUBSTANTIAL EXPENSE. INTENSIVE CARE IS NEEDED TO TREAT THIS INFECTION.
In order to achieve the usual survival rate of approximately 75-80%, the basic therapies must be instituted which includes IV fluid therapy, antivomiting medication, antibiotics, stomach protectants, and plasma transfusions.
Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated for parvo. It is highly effective with minimal if any side effects. Your puppy should be vaccinated every 2-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age starting at 6-8 weeks of age.
Kim Simons, DVM
Pet Hospice and In Home Pet Euthanasia
Dr. Kim Simons services all towns in and around Palm Beach county including Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Highland Beach, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach, and Jupiter.