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5 Things To Know About Parvo

Your  puppy has had their first in a series of three of immunizations which will provide protection from Parvo when fully completed.  Be sure to complete the puppy series.  Remember your puppy is not totally protected until his/her series of immunizations is complete.  Parvo immunization is a series of 3 shots spaced 4-5 weeks apart and then a yearly booster.

1) The most common clinical signs are diarrhea and lethargy

You may also see vomiting, fever, lack of appetite and cardiopulmonary distress, but diarrhea is usually the first and most pronounced clinical sign and has a distinct and sweet odor and is sometimes bloody.

2) Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk.  There are many factors involved in who gets this disease and how serious it is. The vaccination status and health of the pup's mother, the overall health of the puppy, and the age and vaccination status of the puppy. Add to that the virulence (strength) and amount of virus exposure.  All adult dogs at Our Heavenly Yorkies are fully immunized against Parvo.

Prompt veterinary attention is essential. Without treatment, mortality rate is very high. Puppies are born with immature immune systems. They do not have a lot of reserves. If your puppy is lethargic or having episodes of bloody and sweet smelling diarrhea and/or vomiting, please see your vet as soon as possible.

3) Parvo survives a long time in the environment

Some viruses die quickly when outside of animal and exposed to air. Others are deactivated easily by common cleaning agents. Not Parvo. This virus may last months or even years in the environment if the conditions are "right" - cool, moist, shady with lots of organic or fecal material to hide in. Parvo is also considered to be ubiquitous - it is everywhere.   Dogs shed Parvo primarily via feces (vomit may contain virus, too) and they may shed the virus for 2-3 weeks post-infection.  - Avoid all common dog areas until your puppy has completed the full series of puppy vaccinations.   If you take your puppy out, carry them.

MANY Parvo like diseases will test positive for Parvo, such as: Campylobacter and Salmonella.  AND, IF a puppy was just vaccinated for Parvo, it will test positive for Parvo for at least 2 weeks post vaccination, even if it doesn't have Parvo.   Being vaccinated can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and/or lethargy in some puppies for 1 or 2 days post vaccination. 

Traditional wormers can exhibit these symptoms immediately after dosing as well.  Only your Vet can tell the difference.

How to Prevent Your Puppy From Getting Parvo

Regular veterinary care helps keep puppies healthy.  Instructions on your puppy's immunization schedule are included with your handouts.

Puppies face many challenges in the first few months of life as they explore the world around them. This period of major mental and physical growth leaves puppies vulnerable to certain illnesses. One of the most dangerous diseases is Parvo.  Several steps can be taken to prevent this deadly disease from infecting your puppy.

1)  Educate yourself about the parvovirus. The best way to keep your puppy from catching Parvo is to learn about the disease and how it is transmitted. The illness is caused by a virus that affects puppies more than adult dogs. The virus concentrates itself in the dog's intestinal lining and kills the healthy cells, causing diarrhea and vomiting. The virus can also attack the puppy's heart. The virus destroys disease-fighting white blood cells, causing secondary infections to further weaken a puppy's health.

2)   Keep your puppy away from other dogs, dog parks, pet stores and dog feces until they are fully immunized.  Do not board your puppy until fully immunized.  Call me if you need to be away and I'll gladly puppy-sit.  You can carry your puppy to a pet store but do not let them sit in the cart or let their feet touch the floor until after all of the puppy series is completed.  Do not take your puppy to the groomers until fully immunized.

3)   Clean your yard and dog bowls. If you live in a neighborhood where other dogs leave stool in your yard where your puppy plays, keep the area clean to prevent Parvo.  Dog bowls need to be disinfected with a chlorine bleach and water solution of 4 ounces of water to 1 gallon of bleach and rinsed thoroughly.

4)  Take your puppy to the veterinarian immediately if you know she has been exposed to the parvovirus. The antiviral medicine Tamiflu has been effective in preventing the development of Parvo after a dog has been exposed. The medicine is given orally over five days. It may keep the virus from getting a foothold in your puppy's body.

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