Canine parvovirus or also known as parvo is a very contagious virus, which is prominent in the community of canines. Parvo is a problem, particularly for puppy owners because of the severity of symptoms as well as weak immune system of younger dogs. There are some ways to prevent parvo and as a responsible dog owner, it’s essential to be familiar with such prevention methods. Take note, effective prevention starts with understanding the pathophysiology and virology of parvo and increase the survival rate of canine parvovirus.
Is Canine Parvovirus Always Deadly?
One of the frequently asked questions of dog owners is whether canine parvo is deadly. A lot of time, once you hear this disease, it is in relation to young dogs and in such cases, puppies can’t survive. When puppies are very young to be vaccinated against parvo virus and they haven’t been protected by the maternal antibodies due to vaccination of breeding female, they lack some defenses to fight against this kind of virus. However, in other cases, dogs can still recover in this virus.
Once left untreated, the mortality rate of canine parvo is around ninety percent. If treated using a more aggressive therapy, mortality rates of parvo can drop to twenty percent to five percent, yet not without any lasting effects.
What Happens If Puppies Are Infected Through Maternal Exposure?
Unluckily for puppies, they can be affected with parvo once their unvaccinated mother is exposed to as well as contracts it herself. The challenging part of the process of contagion is that mothers might not always show the virus symptoms and she might even develop immunity to this after her puppies have been infected already.
Once the puppies are exposed to parvo virus are born, yet, they frequently show the disease’s symptoms and survive rarely. Some signs are seen in young puppies with virus include a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia in which the puppy’s cerebellum is incomplete or under developed. Other abnormalities are seen in the infected puppies and these dogs won’t be strong enough to fight complications, which accompany their condition.
Is It Different from Heartworms?
As mentioned, parvo is basically a virus where all worms in dogs like heartworms are considered as parasites. Sometimes, parasites are easy to spot in the dog waste, yet often aren’t detected easily by the human eye. Parvo symptoms and dog heartworms are almost the same and so is the treatment’s cost and severity of the health issues. Both may result in death once not treated correctly and quickly, yet the good news is both could be treated with some preventative medicines.
Parasites like ticks and worms thrive in warm climates so be cautious when remembering the heartworm preventative medicine every month, especially during summer. Your dog will definitely thank you for that.
What is the Symptoms of Canine Parvovirus
Generally, parvo incubates for 5 to 10 days, which means that 5-10 days after the dog is exposed to the virus they’ll start to show symptoms. The symptoms differ from one dog to another for some reasons, yet a handful of symptoms are seen with infections. More often than not, dogs have contracted this parvovirus will be very lethargic, would have fever, will have diarrhea, and will also start vomiting. What tips a lot of people off to there being the problem with their dogs is the blood’s presence in their diarrhea.
It’s crucial that once you notice blood in the stool of your dog, you should take him to the veterinarian quickly. As results of such symptoms, dogs may also start suffering from an infection and dehydration. Dogs with vomiting or diarrhea must be kept hydrate properly if it isn’t possible at home or once you suspect parvo infection, consult your vet to start administering the IV fluids.
When it comes to intestinal parvo cases, the intestines lining can be damaged and blood and protein may leak into your dog’s bloodstream. This could cause some medical concerns including anemia, sepsis, severe drop in WBC or white blood cells, and escape of the endotoxins in the bloodstream. Depending on the dog’s overall health, any of such conditions may kill or debilitate an infected dog severely.
Lethargy is the first sign that you should search for in dogs that are infected with canine parvovirus. Lethargic dogs can be hard to spot once you have older dogs or dogs that have little energy due to some conditions. These dogs won’t get up for food or treats and they will often fail to respond to any kind of stimulation including their favorite toy. Without noticing the lethargy that could be seen in dogs infected with canine parvovirus isn’t uncommon, yet the diarrhea and loss of appetite that follow are more challenging to miss. Once diarrhea was developed, dogs might also start vomiting.
Canine Parvovirus and Its Diagnosis
Once your dog shows some signs of canine parvovirus, you must take her or him to the nearest vet in your area immediately. If parvo is suspected, a hemagglutination or EIA test can be done on the feces of your dog to look for the signs of this virus. Electron microscope will also be used when searching for the signs of canine parvovirus.
The only drawback in using enzyme immunoassay or EIA for testing for the signs of parvo is that dogs in the later stages of this condition might not shed virus in their feces. In such cases, most vets depend on t polymerase chain reaction or PCR for testing the virus. PCR basically refers to the process of amplifying a DNA around different magnitudes. This kind of PCR amplification leads to lots of copies of DNA sequence being checked for magnifying the causes for concerns.
To top it all, the survival rate of canine parvo may depend on some factors like how fast you take action to treat your dog and the dog’s overall health condition. If you don’t know what treatment is best for your dog, consult your vet as soon as possible.