Parvovirus is a highly contagious
infectious disease, unfortunately without veterinary treatment, most affected
dogs don’t survive. The virus is transferred from the faeces of an infected dog
and can survive in the environment in all sorts of weather.
An unvaccinated dog
that comes into contact with the virus – even if it’s brought in on their
owners shoe – is very likely to rapidly show symptoms. These include diarrhoea,
vomiting, rapid weight loss, anorexia and lethargy as the intestines are incapable
of absorbing nutrition. Testing and examination by your veterinarian can
confirm a diagnosis of parvovirus after which intensive in-house treatment
should be commenced.
Unfortunately there is no cure for parvovirus and treatment
is targeted towards treating symptoms by replacing fluids, electrolyte and
protein loss, controlling nausea and treating any bacterial infections with
antibiotics. With treatment approximately 70% of patients survive the
infection, puppies however are more susceptible to dying from shock despite
treatment. Prevention of infection is the key, this can be achieved by ensuring
that your puppy is up to date with its vaccination boosters (usually given at
8,12 and 16 weeks of age). During this time puppies should not be walked in
public places and only socialised with dogs of known vaccination status.
Finally, after the final puppy vaccination, ensure that you wait another 2
weeks before exposing your puppy to parks or walks.