Canine Parvovirus: Causes, Symptoms, and How to Prevent It



What is Canine Parvovirus? It is a disease that attacks the dog’s internal organs and immune system.

It is a small virus that causes Canine Parvovirus Type 2 or CPV. This disease can affect other animals such as cats and rabbits. It commonly causes acute gastrointestinal illness in puppies and unvaccinated dogs.

It is less frequent in adult dogs because most of them are vaccinated, or maybe got infected during puppyhood without presenting any symptoms, and created the necessary antibodies.

Canine Parvovirus: Infection

Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease transmitted through contact with contaminated dog feces. This usually happens when a mother dog cleans up the puppies’ stool spreading the virus to all of them.

After being in contact with puppies belonging to strangers you should clean and disinfect your hands, to avoid spreading germs and viruses to other puppies.

Canine Parvovirus: Symptoms

Puppies are prone to catch this virus between the first weeks of life and until they turn 6 months of age. During this period, the first vaccination cycle should be completed.

As mentioned before, unvaccinated adult dogs can also be infected by this virus.

Parvovirus attacks the immune system, rapidly damaging intestinal cells, which can cause gastroenteritis in the dog. It can also attack the dog’s bone marrow.

What are the Symptoms of Canine Parvovirus?

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Mucus or blood in the dog’s stool
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Tachycardia

The virus incubation period can be around five and ten days, but it may last two weeks in some cases.

Canine Parvovirus: Disease

It is not a fatal disease, but it is extremely dangerous. Parvovirus drastically weakens the dog’s immune system; this can make your dog susceptible to infections, potentially deadly.

The virus attacks the dog’s internal organs: liver, kidneys and the heart. The dog’s organs can slowly start to fail, and in more some cases can stop functioning.

Canine Parvovirus: Treatment

What are the treatment options? The first thing you have to do is contact your vet. There is not a specific treatment for this disease, you must take good care of your dog, so that it can fight the symptoms and prevent infections.

Your dog will need antibiotics, gastric protectors and antiemetic.

Acute diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration. An intravenous drip is the preferred method for replacing lost fluids in the dog; this will provide the necessary electrolytes to protect the dog’s internal organs. In some cases, the vet can add intravenous sugar solution to treat low blood sugar in our dog.

The dog cannot digest any food until there are no signs of vomiting or diarrhea for at least 24 hours. In critical conditions it may be necessary to do blood transfusions to speed up our friend’s recovery.

Canine Parvovirus: Recovery

With proper care, medicine and therapy, there will be high chances of healing your dog. This disease is difficult to eradicate and in some cases can lead to death, especially in puppies. They do not have the necessary antibodies to fight this disease.

Early detection of this disease can prevent complications.

How to Prevent Canine Parvovirus?

Vaccinating your dog is very important; always consult a reliable vet.

Indispensable vaccines for dogs are the following: Canine Parvovirus; Hepatitis, Canine Distemper and Leptospirosis.

Always keep in mind that a healthy diet helps your dog grow healthy, strong and improves its immune system.

If you have any doubts, you can consult the nearest professional, who will give your dog the proper care and attention, and he or she will answer all your questions.

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