Parvo Is The Biggest Threat To Dog’s Health Around The Globe
Have you ever heard about parvo dog? Many dog owners show concern about parvovirus infection in dogs and ask many questions in this regard. Keep in mind, parvovirus causes highly contagious infections in dogs. In addition, the symptoms of parvo infection vary from dog to dog.
Note: Dogs ill with canine parvovirus are considered to have “Parvo”.
In this blog, we are going to share the “Parvo dog symptoms” and related facts under the light of scientific literature and the general field experience.
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What Is Parvovirus Infection?
Parvovirus infection is a deadly health condition that is caused by canine parvovirus (CPV). This is a contagious DNA virus that was first discovered in 1967. In addition, this infection is curable with the proper vaccination. An infected dog spreads this infection to healthy ones through the stools. Keep in mind, an infected dog sheds a huge amount of virus in the stool.
All along with that, this virus spreads through several direct and indirect sources. For instance, contaminated collars, leashes, food, and water utensils also spread this infection to healthy dogs/puppies.
The severity of the disease varies from dog to dog. Keep into account that, stress due to any reason (either presence of any underlying disease) can cause severe parvovirus infection in dogs. This is just because the stress weakens the immune system of the dog and leads to severe infection.
Which Breeds Of Dogs Are At Higher Risk Of Getting CPV?
As discussed earlier, parvovirus infection can be seen in any dog of any age. However, here we are going to enlist some important breeds of dogs that are at higher risk of getting CPV:
- German shepherd dog
- English springer spaniels
- Labrador retriever
- American Staffordshire terriers
What Is The Most Preferable Site Of This Virus?
This virus has the capability to infect most of the body parts of the dog. However, this virus likes to multiply in the gastrointestinal tract. So, most experts consider this a gastrointestinal virus. In addition, CPV has also the capability to multiply in the bone marrow and lymphopoiesis tissues of the dog.
Keep in mind, this virus rarely attacks the heart and causes cardiac complications in dogs.
What Are Important Symptoms Of Canine Parvovirus In Dogs?
A dog with parvo shows a variety of signs and symptoms. However, for the quick understanding of the readers, we have enlisted a few key symptoms below:
- Absence of hunger (Anorexia)
- Abrupt weight loss
- Diarrhea (Bloody diarrhea is a characteristic of parvo)
- Generalized body weakness
- Dehydration due to loss of water and essential electrolytes through diarrhea
- Redness around the mouth and eyes
- Rapid heart beat
- Pain and discomfort
Note: Parvovirus multiplies in the intestines of the dog and interferes with the proper absorption of water, nutrients. This virus also damages the intestinal barrier of the dog. This has also been documented that, canine parvovirus infection is severe in young puppies as compared to older dogs.
At What Age Can Puppies Get Parvo?
This has been usually observed that a puppy between the ages of six weeks to six months is susceptible to get parvovirus. However, the puppies younger than six weeks of age remain protected because of the presence of maternal antibodies (Only in case the mother is fully vaccinated against the parvovirus).
How Can Parvovirus Be Diagnosed In Dogs?
For a better treatment plan, a vet should diagnose this infection in the dog by using appropriate diagnostic tools. The diagnosis can be made on the basis of the clinical presentation of the dog/puppy. There are different diagnostic tests that can be performed to detect the virus for example ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
All along with that, the vets can also perform the fecal examination to detect the small pieces of parvovirus DNA by using PCR (polymerase chain reaction). Last but not least, there are also some also easy to use kits available in the market which can help you to easily detect the parvo antigen at home.
Can A Dog With Parvo Survive?
Yes, with proper vaccination and veterinary care, a dog with parvo can survive. According to a scientific report, the chances of recovery with better care and management are almost 90%. On contrary, the mortality rate without medical attention is less than 80% in infected dogs.
Can Parvo Be Treated In Dogs?
As you know, this is a viral infection. There is always defined prevention for viral infections (vaccination) and supportive therapy. Your vet can go for symptomatic treatment i-e vomiting, diarrhea, and fluid therapy to correct dehydration.
Your vet can also suggest antibiotics to check the secondary bacterial infection. As you know, parvovirus weakens the immune system of the dog that leads to secondary bacterial attack.
Note: Parvo is a fatal health-related condition. Proper vaccination, hygienic measures, and appropriate treatment strategy can save your dog’s life.
Puppies are generally vaccinated at the age of 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age. Also keep in mind that, a puppy should receive a vaccine dose between the ages of 14 to 16 weeks.
Can Weaning Stress Cause Parvo In Puppies?
As mentioned earlier, any kind of stress exaggerates the parvovirus infection in the puppies. Weaning stress is one of the major triggers that worsen the parvovirus infection in puppies.
Does Parvovirus Attack On The Heart Of Young Puppies?
Yes, this is a rare condition but parvovirus also attacks the heart muscles of young puppies and leads to cardiac complications.
Can Humans Get Parvovirus From Infected Dogs?
Simply, humans have their own version of parvovirus. They can’t get canine parvovirus (CPV). So, this infection is not zoonotic. However, keep in mind that, a human can act as a carrier and help in spreading the infection from an infected dog to a healthy one through contaminated clothing, shoes, hands, etc.
What Are The Important Stages Of Parvo?
For the better understanding of owners, we have divided the parvo into the following given stages:
- Infection– When a dog comes in contact with the virus (environment, contaminated clothing, oral-fecal route etc)
- Incubation- This period varies from three to seven days. Basically, it is an interval between exposure of a dog to virus till the appearance of signs and symptoms.
- Illness- Infected dog shows signs and symptoms in this stage. The several warning signs of parvo have been already discussed.
Can My Dog Become Infected With Parvo After Recovery?
This has been scientifically documented that the immunity against the parvovirus lasts for several years in a vaccinated dog. However, this is possible that a recovered dog can also become infected with parvo. This is why a routine vaccination along with other precautionary measures is strictly recommended.
How Parvovirus Can Cause Septic Shock In Dogs?
As you know, vomiting and bloody diarrhea are two main warning signs of parvo. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea cause excessive loss of essential electrolytes along with water from the body. This condition leads to severe dehydration, damage to the immune system and intestinal tract which subsequently causes septic shock in dogs.
Does Parvo Dog Drink Water?
No, a dog infected with canine parvovirus refuses drinking water. This less intake of water leads to dehydration and other metabolic complications. Try to keep your dog hydrated. You can also go for intravenous fluid therapy in severe cases.
Can There Be Hypothermia In A Parvo Dog?
Yes. Usually, a high fever is seen in a parvo dog. But there are chances of hypothermia (Decreased body temperature) in parvo dogs as well.
Early Diagnosis Better Treatment
Parvo is a potentially life-threatening and fatal disease of dogs. This condition usually attacks the young puppies and causes high mortality in them. The important warning signs of parvo in dogs include vomiting, foul-smelling bloody diarrhea, fever, generalized body weakness, dehydration, and decreased body weight.
Being a responsible owner, this is your duty to vaccinate your puppy against the parvo at the appropriate age (Consult your vet regarding the vaccination plan). Provide your dog with a healthy soft diet and get appropriate treatment as early as possible. Remember, parvo is a preventable health condition in dogs that can be controlled with the help of proper hygiene, a healthy diet, and suitable treatment.
Zhao, Z., Liu, H., Ding, K., Peng, C., Xue, Q., Yu, Z. and Xue, Y., 2016. Occurrence of canine parvovirus in dogs from Henan province of China in 2009–2014. BMC veterinary research, 12(1), pp.1-8.
Bergmann, M., Holzheu, M., Zablotski, Y., Speck, S., Truyen, U., Straubinger, R.K. and Hartmann, K., 2021. Comparison of Four Commercially Available Point-of-Care Tests to Detect Antibodies against Canine Parvovirus in Dogs. Viruses, 13(1), p.18.
Kilian, E., Suchodolski, J.S., Hartmann, K., Mueller, R.S., Wess, G. and Unterer, S., 2018. Long-term effects of canine parvovirus infection in dogs. PloS one, 13(3), p.e0192198.
Goddard, A. and Leisewitz, A.L., 2010. Canine parvovirus. Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 40(6), pp.1041-1053.