Home Taking Care Of A Puppy Diagnosis and Treatment of Parvo in Puppies

    Diagnosis and Treatment of Parvo in Puppies

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    Diagnosis and Treatment of Parvo in Puppies

    While it’s not uncommon for a new puppy (just like a human baby) to get sick on occasion there are some diseases which are much more serious than others; and among one of the most potentially serious is parvo in puppies.

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    What is Parvo?

    Technically known as the parvovirus, this illness is quite common among dogs and can have potentially lethal consequences.  It was first diagnosed on a widespread basis in 1978 when it triggered an outbreak of epidemic proportions.

    At that time, dogs hadn’t been exposed to it before and consequently had no natural immunity built up to it.  Because of this, both puppies and adult dogs were dying because of the viral infection.

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    What Is Parvo
    What is Parvo? Also known as canine parvo virus, it’s a viral infection that have severe symptoms and can even be fatal

    Similar to viruses that infect humans, parvovirus excels at adaptation and since the initial outbreak numerous strains of the virus have come and gone.  The initial outbreak is actually thought to have been a mutation of the same virus which affect cats.  Known as feline parvovirus (or feline distemper virus) this disease also has similar deadly consequences for cats.

    By now it should go without saying that although a number of different types of viruses and bacteria can be threatening to your puppy, parvo is one of the most serious.

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    What Are Some of the Causes of Parvo Virus in Puppies?

  • Direct contact with the virus.  A puppy can contract parvo through its nose or mouth and generally does this after coming in contact with the feces of a dog that is infected with the virus.

    Canine Parvovirus
    Canine parvovirus can be caused by a number of factors but primarily other dogs that are infected or an unsanitary environment
  • Unsafe environment. Since the parvovirus has the ability to live outside of a host for nearly nine months it can still be quite pernicious unless a contaminated environment is cleaned.
  • Dogs that are still contagious. Most vets recommend that if a dog has been diagnosed with parvo then it should be kept away from other dogs for at least a month.  Other recommended practices include bleaching all items that the puppy comes in contact with on a regular basis.  Obviously this would include things such as sleeping areas, food bowls and water dishes.
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    Parvo Survival in Puppies

    eft untreated, a canine parvovirus infection can potentially be lethal to your puppy however with vaccinations against the virus the chances of your puppy contracting it are lowered.

    Symptoms Of Parvo
    Symptoms of parvo can lead to lethal consequences unless immediate treatment is received

    However, it’s still possible for your puppy to contract parvovirus even after receiving vaccines or shots for it.  In this instance, it’s still possible for survival rates from parvo to be quite high – upwards of 80% to 90% in most cases.

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    In such situations a veterinarian will likely prescribe an aggressive treatment regimen of antibiotics.  Just like with any illness the longer you go without treating it the more likely it is that the disease will run its course.  Obviously, in cases like this the survival rate from canine parvo virus can drop off significantly.  Therefore, if you have any suspicions that your puppy may have parvo you need to get it treated as quickly as possible.

    Some natural alternatives to vet treatment, such as parvaid, are available but be sure and do your homework before going outside of your vet for help.  Parvo is nothing to be trifled with when it comes to your puppy.

    Parvo Sym

    Parvo Symptoms in Puppies

    three basic types of the parvovirus which can manifest themselves in a puppy.  They are asymptomatic, cardiac and intestinal.  We’ll discuss each type and then take a look at a few common symptoms to watch out for in your puppy.

    Parvo Symptoms In Puppies
    Parvo symptoms in puppies can range from none at all (at least initially), to intestinal forms (like diarrhea or vomiting) to rare forms which can cause cardiac problems
    • Asymptomatic. In essence, this means that your puppy does not display any outward signs of having contracted the parvovirus.  Over time this will change as the illness takes hold.  Therefore, once your puppy has moved from this stage it’s critical to take action.
    • Cardiac symptoms. This is a more rare form of the viral disease.  Mostly this is due to the fact that parvo vaccines treat the intestinal form of the illness most often.  However, this form of parvo actually attacks a dog’s heart causing inflammation (and ultimately death) of the cells in the heart muscles themselves.  In fact, puppies that are less than two months old and contract this type of parvo are at high risk of dying.  For older dogs, lasting effects of this type of parvo include scarring of heart muscle tissue.
    • Intestinal. The intestinal form of parvo is the most common even though it is the most widely vaccinated against.  Essentially, this form of the virus attacks the lining of the intestinal tract.  Puppies are at the greatest risk of contracting this form of parvo.  Statistically speaking almost 85% of all cases of intestinal parvovirus are reported in dogs that are a year old or younger.  Mostly this is due to the fact that they have not received shots for parvo at this stage.Some of the most common symptoms of parvo in puppies are the following:
        • General loss of energy (or lethargy)
        • Lack of interest in eating, loss of appetite
        • Symptoms of diarrhea caused by dehydration, fluids are usually recommended
        • Bouts of vomiting
        • Running a fever

    Most of these symptoms will manifest themselves quite quickly.  After the virus has gone through its incubation period, which is usually 10 days or less, then you would start to see symptoms taking hold in your puppy soon after.

    Keep in mind that although parvo in puppies can be potentially lethal there are a number of things you can do to reduce that risk with the most important being seeking immediate medical attention from your veterinarian should you notice any of the symptoms or conditions listed here.