What Would Happen If Parvo Symptoms Didn’t Exist?
Parvo is an extremely contagious, potentially fatal viral disease caused by the notorious Canine Parvovirus. It can affect dogs of all breeds and ages, but unvaccinated ones tend to be more susceptible. However, there are cases where even vaccinated dogs become infected.
There’s never a guarantee that vaccines can provide 100% protection from the virus, and there’s also no known cure for Parvo up to this day. Because of that, both owners and veterinary professionals rely on the signs and symptoms to spot Parvo infection early and provide timely supportive treatment. But, what if Parvo symptoms didn’t exist? What would happen then?
Why Are Signs and Symptoms So Important?
Most of us are already familiar with signs and symptoms. We see these words written on posters or stickers every time we go in for a Doctor’s appointment or whenever we take our pets to the veterinary clinic for a routine check-up. Why? Because they help us determine whether a bodily response is a normal immune function or an indication of a particular disease. They also serve as a guide for medical professionals to easily narrow down a list of medical issues to one specific illness and form an accurate diagnosis. Without signs and symptoms, not only would it be incredibly difficult to identify health conditions properly, but it would be impossible to come up with the right treatment.
Parvo Symptoms and Diseases They Could Be Mistaken For
In general, fever is a sign of infection. It occurs whenever the immune system is fighting foreign bodies and trying to get the body to heal. Because of that, fever is a symptom of many diseases in both humans and animals. Aside from Parvo, fever could mean:
1. A wound infection
One of the most common causes of a fever in dogs is an infected wound. As the body tries to defend itself and prevent further infection, there may be a rise in body temperature.
2. A urinary tract infection
A sudden rise in body temperature may also be an indication of a urinary tract infection.
3. Poisoning from toxins or human medications/food
Ingestion of substances, food, or human medications that are toxic to dogs may cause an increase in body temperature.
Because the Canine Parvovirus goes straight for the gastrointestinal system, bloody diarrhea is a pretty common sign of Parvo in dogs. If Parvo symptoms didn’t exist, however, and your dog happens to start vomiting and having loose, bloody stools, your veterinarian would probably think it’s because of the following (aside from Parvo, of course):
1. Parasitic or bacterial infection
Intestinal parasites, like roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms, are one of the most common causes of bloody diarrhea—as well as other Parvo-like symptoms, such as vomiting and loss of appetite—in dogs. However, bacteria, such as E. Coli and Salmonella, are also known to cause the symptom.
2. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, also known as Acute Hemorrhagic Diarrhea, is generally considered as idiopathic, meaning there is still no identified cause for it. However, it can be due to several factors, including intestinal injuries or ulcers, gastrointestinal tumors, and intestinal trauma or blockages.
3. Intestinal irritation
Another possible cause of bloody diarrhea in dogs is intestinal irritation. It can result from sudden diet alterations, food allergies, overeating, or ingestion of non-food items, like wood, rocks, or broken pieces of a dog toy.
If Parvo symptoms didn’t exist and you notice your dog suddenly vomiting all the time, your veterinarian may list down the following health conditions as probable causes:
1. Ingestion of harmful substances
Vomiting can result from the ingestion of irritating or poisonous substances, like antifreeze, certain medications, chocolate, insecticides, or toxic plants. Dehydration, another symptom of Parvo, can also occur in such situations.
2. Acute kidney failure
In dogs, ingestion of toxic substances, like the ones mentioned above, can lead to acute kidney failure and cause vomiting, along with weakness, dehydration, and loss of appetite—just like Parvo.
Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is a part of the digestive system and it’s responsible for producing enzymes that help break down food for proper digestion. In dogs, inflammation of the pancreas can cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues and one of them is vomiting.
Loss of appetite
Aside from Parvo, diseases that cause loss of appetite in dogs include:
1. Stress or anxiety
The most common reasons for dogs to lose interest in food are stress and anxiety, which typically occur during car rides or when they’re left alone for too long. It may also happen as a result of transferring to a new house, sudden additions to the family, or fear—whether of a noise, person, or an animal.
2. Liver disease
There are several different stages of liver disease, but a loss of appetite is known to be one of the earliest signs. Other Parvo-like symptoms of liver disease include vomiting and diarrhea.
3. Heart failure
Compared to humans, heart failure rarely occurs in dogs, and if it does, it normally doesn’t come with any outward signs. However, in severe cases, affected dogs do tend to lose their appetite.
We can only imagine how challenging it would be to diagnose, let alone treat, Parvo if its symptoms didn’t exist. We should all consider ourselves lucky that we live in an age where we have enough technology to identify, cure, or manage most medical conditions.