Canine Parvovirus is a severe, often fatal disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. It primarily affects puppies between the ages of 8 weeks and one year. However, the illness can occur in dogs of any age. It is characterized by vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy, and watery, often bloody, diarrhea.
The good news is: the illness is preventable. Routine vaccinations, starting at 6 weeks of age, and isolation (until vaccine boosters are completed) from unknown dogs (dog parks, etc.) will generally prevent your pup from getting ill from parvovirus.
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If illness does occur, intensive hospitalization, including intravenous fluids, is usually recommended. The chances of recovery are directly related to how soon in the course of disease they come in to see us, and how aggressively we treat the symptoms. In general, aggressively- treated, hospitalized patients have a 75% survival rate in our hospital. Patients treated at home generally survive about 50% of the time, and untreated pups have only a 10% chance of survival.
Canine Parvovirus can live in the environment for up to nine months, and it is very difficult to kill. In fact, diluted bleach is the only cleaning agent that will kill the virus. Therefore, if you have had a pup with Parvovirus, you should not bring any unvaccinated pups into the household for at least one year.
After a puppy has recovered from Parvovirus, it is important to get their other vaccines boostered as soon as possible. Recovering pups have weakened immune systems, which makes them more susceptible to Distemper and other dangerous puppy diseases.
The bottom line is, if your pup is showing any of the above symptoms, a prompt visit to our clinic is the best way to ensure the best chance of a good outcome. Again, prevention through timely vaccination is the key.
If you have any questions, or you suspect your puppy may have Parvovirus, please call us at (281) 931-6237.