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Parvovirus in Dogs: Symptoms & Prevention

Parvovirus in Dogs: Symptoms & Prevention

Parvovirus is a severe and extremely contagious virus that dogs can catch from infected dogs or objects like toys and bedding. Puppies are especially vulnerable. Our veterinarians at Harlingen will explain how parvovirus spreads and share prevention tips with you.

How is canine parvovirus spread?

Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes severe gastrointestinal symptoms in puppies and unvaccinated dogs of all ages. It spreads through traces of infected dogs' feces.

The virus can be transmitted by dogs even before they show symptoms or after they have recovered. Even dogs without symptoms can pass on the virus.

People who come into contact with dogs infected with parvovirus can unintentionally spread it to other dogs. Common sources of contamination include leashes, bowls, toys, and bedding.

How does parvovirus attack your dog's body?

Parvovirus targets a dog's stomach and small intestines, causing damage to the gut barrier and preventing the absorption of important nutrients. In puppies, it can also harm the bone marrow, lymphopoietic tissues, and occasionally the heart, which are crucial for their immune system.

Why are puppies susceptible to parvo?

If the mother is fully vaccinated against parvovirus, the puppies get antibodies from her and are protected from parvovirus for around 6 weeks after birth. However, as the puppies stop nursing, their immune systems weaken and they become vulnerable to the disease.

That's why veterinarians advise pet owners to start vaccinating their puppies against parvovirus when they reach 6 weeks old, as the antibodies from their mother are no longer present to shield them.

Only after receiving all 3 recommended parvovirus vaccines is a young dog protected against the disease. The period between weaning and full vaccination is when puppies are most likely to contract parvovirus.

What are the symptoms of parvovirus in a dog?

It is essential to understand that once your dog begins showing symptoms they are already very ill. If you notice that your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms contact your vet immediately:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

Treatment for Parvovirus in Dogs

Parvo in dogs has no cure, but your vet will provide supportive treatments for symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. Your pup's hydration and nutrition are crucial for recovering from parvovirus.

Puppies with parvo are prone to secondary infections due to their weakened immune systems, so your vet will closely monitor your puppy and may prescribe antibiotics to fight bacterial infections.

If your dog receives veterinary care and survives the first four days of symptoms, there's a good chance of recovery. Typically, it takes about a week for dogs to recover from Parvo.

If your dog is diagnosed with canine parvovirus, it's important to isolate them from other animals and practice thorough handwashing after being near your dog.

How can I prevent parvo?

Parvovirus vaccines are the best way to prevent the virus. Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, avoid letting them interact with dogs that haven't received full parvovirus vaccination.

While socializing is important for young dogs, make sure the dogs your puppy spends time with are fully vaccinated to avoid any health risks.

Consult your vet to ensure the best protection for your new furry family member.

Also, remember to follow your vet's advice and have your dog vaccinated for parvo, rabies, and other potentially serious conditions according to the recommended vaccination schedule in your area."

Is your puppy due for a parvovirus vaccination? Contact our Harlingen vet today to book your appointment!

Welcoming New Patients

Our vets at Altas Palmas Animal Clinic are now accepting new patients! Our veterinary team is passionate about keeping the cats and dogs of Harlingen happy and healthy. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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