Parvovirus is one of the most dreaded illnesses pet owners face. It’s contagious, and it can lead to severe weakness in a dog — sometimes even death.
However, there is some hope; if an owner can catch the disease early, then there’s a higher chance the dog will recover. That is why it’s essential to know what are the various parvo signs.
What Is Parvovirus?
Owners who are exposed to the virus can also spread it to their dogs. That’s why it’s essential to maintain proper hygiene during walks or when a dog visits a new area.
Parvo usually stays in the small intestines and stomach; that’s why it can affect a dog’s appetite and make them lethargic. For puppies, the virus can also affect the heart, bone marrow, and lymphopoietic tissues.
Causes Of Parvovirus In Dogs
The virus can spread through direct and secondary contact, but a dog’s immune system can affect how the body will fight off the virus.
Puppies are the most susceptible to Parvo because they don’t have a robust enough immune system yet. It’s essential to have them vaccinated once they reach 6 weeks old, so they build antibodies.
The virus can live on indoor and outdoor surfaces for several months, so it’s crucial to disinfect a home with a sick dog.
Unvaccinated dogs are also at a high risk of getting sick. Owners must always be cautious around strange dogs, especially those that roam the streets.
Some breeds have a higher risk of getting sick; these are:
- Doberman Pinschers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- English Springer Spaniels
Owners with these breeds must constantly consult with their veterinarian about Parvo prevention.
Dogs from pounds or shelters are also at high risk of infection because of the crowding in these facilities. Dogs are bound to come into contact with the virus.
The Most Common Symptoms Of Parvovirus
The key to saving a puppy from the virus is early detection, so owners must look for signs of Parvo, especially in young puppies. Once an unvaccinated dog shows any of the symptoms, it should be brought to the veterinarian.
Fever is a sign most owners don’t notice right away, but it’s one of the earliest and most common Parvo symptoms. Dogs experience fever very similar to humans, so they may start shivering, coughing, and having high body temperature.
Owners can check for fever using a pet thermometer. A dog’s average body temperature is between 37.5 to 39.2 degrees Celsius (99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit).
If the temperature goes above 39.7 C (103.5 F), then it’s a fever. Closely monitor the dog for other signs of Parvo.
The virus stays in the stomach or small intestines; it hinders nutrient absorption and damages the gut barrier. Dogs may suffer from continuous vomiting as a result of this damage.
3. Bloody Diarrhea
Parvo can also lead to diarrhea for dogs. The virus destroys the tissue in the digestive organs, so blood will come out with wet feces.
4. Anorexia And Dehydration
The uncomfortable feelings in the gut can affect a dog’s appetite. They may stop eating, and as a result, they become anorexic and dehydrated.
When dogs don’t get the proper nutrients they need, they become weak. The virus also disrupts nutrient absorption, so the dog’s body won’t have enough energy.
Treatment For Fever And Other Parvo Symptoms
Once a dog shows a sign of fever or any other symptoms, it must be taken to the veterinarian right away. Once the dog is in the clinic, it will undergo some tests to determine if the fever is caused by the Parvovirus.
If the virus is present, then the dog will have to be admitted to the animal hospital. Here, it will receive an array of treatments like:
- Intravenous fluids to treat dehydration
- Blood transfusion
- Tube feeding
These treatments will help the dog deal with the fever-like virus symptoms and regain its strength.
The dog’s immune system will determine how it will recover from the virus. Once its condition has improved and it doesn’t have any more Parvo symptoms, it can be brought home.
Owners must monitor the fever as it subsides. Religiously follow the medication prescribed by the veterinarian and never give a dog medicine for humans. Some human fever medicines contain Tylenol and paracetamol, which are toxic to dogs.
Make sure the puppy patient has a quiet place to recover with enough food and water. Soon the dog will be back to normal!
How To Protect The Home From Parvo
Vaccines are a great help with Parvo prevention. Once a puppy reaches the right age, it should be vaccinated to protect itself and other dogs in the house. Dogs will get booster shots every year, and it’s the best way to prevent signs of Parvo from appearing again!
Owners should also limit their pet’s exposure to strange dogs. The other dogs may be contaminated, and they will spread the virus around.
Also, remember to practice proper hygiene with pets. Owners who did activities outside must wash their hands before petting their dog to prevent any virus from transferring to them.
Lastly, the best way to keep a home safe from Parvo is to know where the dogs come from. New owners who are adopting dogs must consult with the shelter to check health records.
Finding a trustworthy shelter is tricky, but potential owners can use Doobert to find the right partner. Doobert can assist with finding shelters that have their dog’s complete medical history. It will give owners peace of mind and awareness about their fostered pets.
Parvovirus can be a terrifying disease, especially for unvaccinated dogs. The fever and stomach problems are very uncomfortable, and they can make pets weak. Just remember that early detection is the best way to counter the virus, so always look out for Parvo symptoms in the dogs at home.