Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness
The incidence of canine parvovirus infections has been reduced radically by early vaccination in young puppies.
The major symptoms associated with the intestinal form of a canine parvovirus infection include:
Parvovirus can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog‘s feces. Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from the streets, especially in urban areas where there are many dogs.
Veterinarians diagnose parvovirus on the basis of clinical signs and laboratory testing. The ELISA test has become a common test for parvovirus. The ELISA test kit is used to detect parvovirus in a dog’s stools, and is performed in the vet’s office in about 15 minutes. Because this test is not 100% sensitive or specific, your veterinarian may recommend additional tests and bloodwork.
Puppies, adolescent dogs and canines who are not vaccinated are most susceptible to the virus. Breeds at a higher risk are Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Labrador retrievers, American Staffordshire terriers and German shepherds.
No specific drug is available that will kill the virus in infected dogs, and treatment is intended to support the dog’s body systems until the dog’s immune system can fight off the viral infection. Treatment should be started immediately and consists primarily of intensive care efforts to combat dehydration by replacing electrolyte, protein and fluid losses, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, and preventing secondary infections. Sick dogs should be kept warm and receive good nursing care. When a dog develops parvo, treatment can be very expensive, and the dog may die despite aggressive treatment. Early recognition and aggressive treatment are very important in successful outcomes. With proper treatment, survival rates can approach 90%.
Since parvovirus is highly contagious, isolation of infected dogs is necessary to minimize spread of infection. Proper cleaning and disinfection of contaminated kennels and other areas where infected dogs are (or have been) housed is essential to control the spread of parvovirus. The virus is not easily killed, so consult your veterinarian for specific guidance on cleaning and disinfecting agents.
Do not hesitate to call Anzer Animal Hospital at 561-619-7600, if you have any questions on how to properly schedule your pet’s vaccinations, or if you notice any of the symptoms above. Early recognition and treatment are very important in successful outcomes. With proper treatment, survival rates can approach 90%.