An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure for Your Puppy and Parvo!

sick puppy
Recently we have been having quite the Parvovirus outbreak in our area so I thought I would share a little bit of information about signs of parvovirus and prevention and control.

SYMPTOMS OF PARVO:
Diarrhea
Lethargy
No appetite
Fever
Vomiting
Rapid weight loss
If you see any of these signs get your pet to the veterinary clinic ASAP.

CAUSES OF PARVO:
There are a variety of risk factors that can increase a dog’s susceptibility to the disease, but mainly, the virus is transmitted either by direct contact with an infected dog, or indirectly, by the fecal-oral route, i.e. an infected dog poops and your puppy sniffs the infected dog’s poop, your puppy will contract the disease! The virus can also be brought into a dog’s environment by way of shoes that have come into contact with infected feces. Parvovirus can live in the ground for a very long time!

Not properly vaccinating your puppy or a vaccination failure can also lead to a parvovirus infection. For unknown reasons, certain dog breeds, such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels and Alaskan sled dogs are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

DIAGNOSIS:
When a puppy less than a year old comes to the clinic with any or all of the symptoms we are forced to first suspect the Parvovirus. Since the parvovirus is a highly contagious viral illness we ask that you leave the puppy in the car and one of our nurses will come out to your car to perform the parvovirus test.

The Parvovirus is diagnosed here at Gem Veterinary Clinic by a fecal snap test. A swab of the rectum is done and then it takes approximately 8 minutes for the result.

If the test indicates that your puppy has the parvovirus we will put you and the puppy into our isolation treatment room. At that time the doctor will do a physical examination and assess the prognosis of the puppy. Since the disease is a viral infection, there is no real cure for it. Treatment is focused on curing the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections. Ideally we would hospitalize your pet and give intensive intravenous fluid therapy to control/prevent dehydration as well as treatments to curb vomiting, stomach acid reducers and antibiotics. Depending on your puppy’s condition they could be in the hospital for one day, but may be much longer with you possibly incurring a substantial pet care bill. If money is a concern and depending on your puppy’s’ condition the doctor may deem out-patient treatment a possibility. Out-patient treatment involves administering subcutaneous fluids and injections of anti-nausea and antibiotics. This treatment may need to be repeated until vomiting stops and then the puppy can be placed on oral medications. Either treatment can be fairly extensive and does not guarantee the puppy will survive the disease.

PREVENTION:
VACCINATE, VACCINATE VACCINATE!!! As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly rings true with the parvovirus. The best prevention you can take against parvovirus is to follow the correct protocol for vaccination. Young puppies should be vaccinated at eight, twelve and sixteen weeks of age. The parvo vaccine is a preventative, not a cure. If you suspect your puppy has parvo DO NOT give your puppy the parvo vaccine!! It is highly recommended you have your puppy be examined by a veterinarian to determine their health and wellness before they receive their vaccine. Not all vaccines are the same, at Gem Veterinary Clinic we use MERIAL® brand vaccines the safest most proven vaccine on the market, if your puppy were to be diagnosed with the parvovirus after following the correct vaccine protocol MERIAL® would cover most if not all of the cost of the treatment.

As much as you love your new puppy and want to show it off to everyone you know; puppies should not be considered fully immunized until at least two weeks after their last set of vaccinations. So no trips to the dog park, pet store, the neighbor’s house, etc. until your puppy is fully vaccinated!!

Gem Veterinary Clinic offers a Puppy Package to encourage new puppy parents to get their entire puppy vaccines completed as well as the Rabies vaccine and six months of FREE EXAMS from the time that you purchase the package! Call us at 365-6008 to make your puppy’s appointment and invest in their healthy future!!

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