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.