Puppies are young dogs that are still growing and developing. Since this is the case, common colds and viruses can do more damage to their bodies. Thankfully, most viruses are light and go away on their own.
However, some are highly contagious and have a high death rate, like parvo. Keep reading our Searcy, AR, animal clinic‘s article to learn more about this deadly disease and how to help your small puppy fight it.
What is Parvo?
Parvo in puppies is a sickness that comes from canine parvovirus. The virus is heavily contagious and can spread through indirect and direct contact, including feces, saliva, and open wounds.
Puppies are most susceptible to this sickness because of how underdeveloped their immune systems are. Puppies, especially in puppy mills and dog kennels, are at a higher risk of contracting this virus because there is a lack of space between them.
Puppies can even spread parvo through indirect objects like a collar, dog food bowls, and toys.
The Common Causes of Parvo in Puppies
Truthfully, there is only one cause of parvo, the virus that infects the puppy. It is super contagious, though, as the virus passes from one host to the next through touch. As stated previously, this specific type of virus is very dangerous for puppies, and it specifically attacks a dog’s stomach and small intestines. For puppies with a higher risk, their bone marrow and heart can grow weak and sick because of the virus.
Most of the time, puppies infected by Parvovirus are between six weeks to six months old. Puppies under six weeks old still have the mother’s antibodies to fight off the infection. Still, it is good to watch your puppy’s condition to ensure they are not infected.
Diagnosing Parvo in Puppies
There is no cure for parvo, but your veterinarian can help you treat the symptoms to increase the speed of your pet’s recovery. Since this is the case, correctly diagnosing parvo is a number one priority. Once you notice your dog displaying any of the following symptoms and signs – fevers, diarrhea, and extreme weight loss – take them to their local veterinarian.
Usually, by the time your puppy is about 16 weeks old, they are fully vaccinated against parvo. The treatments begin at approximately 6, 9, 12 and 16 weeks of age. The only way to know for sure if your dog has Parvo is to get a test done on your dog’s feces. If the virus is present in the stool, it will give a positive result.
Treatments for Parvo in Puppies
The biggest fear with parvo is that it is heavily contagious as well as deadly. Since it is contagious, you should start cleaning your home frequently, especially objects that other dogs touch, to decrease the chances of the virus spreading. There are actually specific disinfectant sprays used to fight against the virus that leave your home smelling nice.
Keep in mind, though, that there is no cure or antibiotic specifically made to fight against parvo. Instead, your veterinarian can treat the symptoms by keeping your puppy hydrated and fed. If you can, lower your puppy’s body temperature slowly, with supportive care. Your veterinarian may have some medications that could assist in helping your puppy gain a better appetite.
How to Prevent the Spread of Parvo
You read that right; parvo in puppies is completely preventable! However, don’t beat yourself up if your puppy has it. Some puppies, for up to 2 weeks after a full recovery, still have the virus and can spread it to others. This is why it is important for your veterinarian to give the parvo vaccination to your dog/puppy.
The vaccination comes in two to three parts and is given to dogs 6, 9, and 12 weeks of age and one more at 16 weeks. Your dog will be parvo ready by the time they hit four months old. To decrease the chances, clean everything thoroughly. It is understandable to forget about your puppy’s toys, but these are germ magnets that bacteria and viruses can attach to with ease.
Socializing puppies is important, but with how quickly parvo spreads, it makes sense to want to wait. Instead of living in fear, bring your puppy to events that require vaccination against parvo. Official puppy play dates and training events are safer, and you can keep track of who your friendly puppy meets.
Schedule Your Puppy’s Parvo Vaccine with Our Searcy, AR, Veterinarian
Overall, parvo is a virus that is nothing to play around with. Once your dog shows symptoms, you should hurry to your veterinarian for medical intervention. Even after your puppy has recovered, since they have a good chance of doing so, keep them away from other dogs as they can still carry the virus without displaying symptoms.
If you have questions about parvo in puppies or would like to get your puppy examined, please reach out to Liles Animal Clinic at (501) 268-5381.
Thank you for choosing Liles Animal Clinic as your pet's veterinarian in Searcy, AR. We are committed to providing exceptional veterinary care from your pet’s first days to their final moments. Our veterinary clinic facilities have been designed to assist us in providing routine preventive care for healthy pets, early detection diagnostics for aging pets, and complete medical and surgical care for pets at all life stages.