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What is Parvovirus?

 by zack on 14 Jun 2013 |
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Whenever you first take your dog to the vet one of the initial tests and vaccinations your furry friend will receive is for the parvovirus. What is parvovirus?  Well, the relatively recent advent of the dangerous virus known colloquially as parvo has decimated dog populations throughout the world.

The terrible disease attacks the digestive systems of, not just dogs, but all canids, and occasionally cats as well. Related strains have even been found in human beings. It’s a deadly disease with a lot of ugly implications, especially parvo in puppies. So for your animal’s protection, and your peace of mind, let’s look a little deeper into the nature of this disease.

How Dogs Catch Parvo:

Parvo in dogs can occur in a number of ways. How dogs catch parvo is usually by ingesting or coming into close contact with the feces of another infected animal. However, it can also be caught by licking anything the infected fecal matter has come into contact with. That means if you step in dog mess, and your dog chews a shoe it could be a very costly vet bill for an unvaccinated pup.

Parvo Symptoms:

This is where things begin to get really nasty. As soon as your dog shows any of the following symptoms it’s already past time to get to the vet’s office.
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Mucous or blood within the diarrhea
  • A high fever
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • A withdrawn belly due to the abdominal pain
  • Dehydration

Not all of these symptoms will always be prevalent, but if you see one or more in quick succession, you might be in for a rough time. So bundle up the pup and head to the local vet, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Parvo Treatment:

Treatment for parvovirus is pretty serious business. First of all it’s almost 
always going to require your dog’s hospitalization. They will most likely need 
 
intravenous fluids and medications to correct the dehydration and 
the constant vomiting/diarrhea. In the worst cases, your dog might need a blood transfusion. A plasma transfusion, more specifically.

During the time it takes to eliminate the vomiting and diarrhea, the dog won’t be allowed to eat or drink, relying instead on the fluids provided by the veterinarian. This process can take up to 5 days, and as such is very tasking on the dog.  They will also be taking antibiotics to stem the flow of infections caused by the viral onslaught.

Parvo Vaccinations:
With all of the various complications, terrible consequences, and cutthroat 
nature of the parvovirus so apparent, the obvious solution is to have your dog 
vaccinated against the disease before it ever becomes a problem. Luckily, it is par for the course in any young puppy’s first 
veterinary visit. It’s even a known procedure to revaccinate an expecting mother to boost the puppies’ immune systems in vitro.

Overall, parvovirus is one of the more threatening diseases a young pup can face in its burgeoning new life. So stay aware, keep your dog protected, and as always stay informed with the helpful tips and advice from the Petbucket blog. 

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