(Last Updated On: May 14, 2017)
Introduction

Canine Parvovirus, or parvo/cat flu, in dogs is a highly contagious and often fatal viral disease that attacks the gastrointestinal system of the animal, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Unvaccinated puppies younger than four months old are most at risk.

Parvo is a very contagious virus and is found only in dogs. It is fatal 16 to 48 percent of the time. Puppies under 20 weeks old are at the highest risk of contracting the virus. It causes gastroenteritis, or the stomach and intestines to become severely inflamed. It is the fastest spreading disease among canines. Rottweilers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds are the breeds at the highest risk of contracting parvo.

Common signs of infection are:
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite, and
  • Fever.

Your dog can contract parvo from touching or ingesting the fecal matter of another dog carrying the virus or a human who has come into contact with the virus. It is also possible for your dog to contract parvo from a surface that came into contact with infected canine fecal matter, even if the surface has been disinfected. Humans can only carry the virus and cannot become infected.

Canine Parvovirus - cat flu - Parvo -
Canine Parvovirus

There is no treatment to kill the virus once the puppy is infected. Interestingly, the virus does not directly cause death, rather, it causes loss of the lining of the intestinal tract. This results is severe dehydration, electrolyte (sodium and potassium) imbalances, and infection in the bloodstream (septicaemia). When the bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract are able to get into the bloodstream, it becomes more likely that the animal will die.

Parvo is most commonly treated by letting the virus run its course. In some cases antibiotics are administered, and some dogs may receive blood or plasma transfusions.

Parvo vaccination is the best way to reduce the chance of infection and potential death. It is also important to limit exposure to other dogs in a puppy under 20 weeks old.

8 Tips to keep your puppy free of the Canine Parvovirus
  1. Make sure your puppy is properly vaccinated.
  2. Limit your puppy’s exposure to other dogs (Until he/she is vaccinated).
  3. Avoid possible exposure places, for example dog parks, pet stores, play groups, common public areas, etcetera.
  4. Carry your puppy in your arms and let him/her sit on your lap when visiting your local Veterinarian.
  5. Parvovirus is very difficult to kill and can live in the environment for more than a year, clean your yard with a 1:32 dilution of bleach.
  6. Potentially contaminated clothing must be removed before coming into contact with your puppy.
  7. Take your puppy to the Vet at the earliest signs of the symptoms.
  8. Leave unvaccinated puppies at home when visiting friends.

 

 

Deadly Canine Parvovirus
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