Parvovirus, the silent killer; what you need to know.
Parvovirus is an easily preventable but extremely infectious virus passed between canines. We’re currently seeing a record high number of parvo positive puppies in the clinic this summer. It’s possibly the most devastating disease for a dog owner and clinician to witness.
Puppies are just babies, full of life and boisterous. Parvo causes them to be lethargic and dull. They are unable to keep food down, with constant vomiting and diarrhoea. The virus sluffs their intestinal lining and they often die of dehydration.
What is Parvo?
Parvovirus is a virus that can survive in the environment for up 6 months. It is extremely infectious between canines. Humans and other species cannot pick up parvo from a sick dog. It is easily prevented by vaccination.
What are the clinical signs?
All dogs are susceptible if not fully vaccinated, however it usually affects puppies. Affected dogs will have severe vomiting and diarrhoea, little interest in food, and become listless and dull. If not treated immediately, your pet may die.
How do you know it’s Parvo?
If your pet is not up to date on their vaccinations, (yearly boosters are required in Ireland), and they are displaying any of the above symptoms, they should be taken to a vet ASAP. We have a simple 10 minute test that alerts us to whether your pet is positive or negative for Parvovirus.
What is the treatment?
Since Parvo is a virus, there is no actual cure. However, chances of survival are improved if affected pets are taken to the vet immediately. Your vet will test your pet for Parvo. If positive, they will be placed in quarantine on intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medication. Parvo positive patients may need to be hospitalized for days, and even then we aren’t able to guarantee their survival.
How can you prevent your pet from getting Parvo?
VACCINATE! Puppies can be vaccinated from 6 weeks old, and again in 2-4 weeks to ensure full immunity. If your dog is not up to date on vaccines, they will need their vaccination and a booster in 2-4 weeks.