What is Parvovirus (Parvo)?

With the recent spike in parvovirus cases in the Las Vegas Valley, some people may wonder what is the parvovirus (parvo)? How does my dog get parvo? Can parvo spread to humans and other animals?

Parvo is a direct virus that is caused by contaminated feces. It is caused by the canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) virus. CPV-2 is highly contagious and attacks the gastrointestinal tract as well as the immune system of puppies and dogs. Puppies at a young age are also at risk of the virus attacking their heart.[1]

Signs of Parvo

Dogs can get this virus by sniffing, licking, or eating feces or playing with objects that are contaminated. This virus is one that has a shedding stage. Meaning this normally happens just a few days before clinical signs start to show. You may be wondering what are these clinical signs to look for in your puppies. Common signs are bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, fever, and appetite loss. If you see your pet having any of these signs we recommend seeing your vet as soon as possible. This virus, unfortunately, can be life-threatening Parvovirus Las Vegasif not caught early. However, it can be treated if diagnosed early. With aggressive treatment, studies have shown survival rates can approach 90% [2].

Treating the Virus

Common treatments for these parvo cases are hospitalization with IV fluids, oral medications, injectable medications, and sometimes tube feeding. Throughout the patient’s hospitalization, bloodwork is run to see how the patient is responding to the treatment. The main factors that we look for in bloodwork are white blood cell count, red blood cell count, platelets, glucose levels (for hypoglycemia), and if the patient has low protein levels.

Where can my dog catch the virus?

Other important things to know is where are common areas that we worry about? These places would be at dog parks, regular parks, apartment complexes. Parvo can also live in any environment for 1 year or longer. With parvo being very serious, and at times fatal, a pet can not get parvo again – the body’s immune system has built up antibodies towards this virus. Parvo is a case where it is seen more in young puppies who do not have their DA2PPv vaccine (Distemper-Adenovirus Type2-Parainfluenza-Parvovirus).Parvovirus Las Vegas

How do I prevent my dog from getting it?

Luckily, parvovirus is only contagious between dogs, humans and other species cannot be contaminated. However, anyone can transmit the virus if they come into contact with an infected pet or areas. Preventions on how to help your sweet furbaby to not get this sad and awful virus is to VACCINATE!! There are so many pets that do not get vaccines as a puppy. Even puppies that do not finish boosters are more likely to pick up this virus, it is possible for older dogs to contract the virus but if they are up to date on vaccines and have been regularly vaccinated against the virus, the chances are slim.  

Don’t take the chance and wait, get your pup protected today and vaccinate!

Footnotes: 

[1]: http://www.vetstreet.com/care/canine-parvovirus-parvo

[2]: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/canine-parvovirus.aspx

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