New Dog? Everything You Should Know about Parvo
Canine parvovirus (CPV), most commonly referred to as parvo is one of the vaccinations that every puppy should receive. Failing to vaccinate your puppy or having your dog improperly vaccinated puts them at risk of contracting this dangerous disease.
Why Is Parvovirus So Dangerous for Dogs?
Initially, parvo manifests in a dog with a decreased appetite and lethargy. The dog will then develop mild gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. Eventually, vomiting will worsen and diarrhea will become bloody as the intestinal tract begins to hemorrhage. As the virus also attacks an infected dog’s bone marrow, their production of disease-fighting white blood cells will diminish or cease entirely, severely weakening the dog’s immune system. An infected dog will then become dangerously dehydrated and unable to fight off secondary infections. As a result, parvovirus can lead to death.
Highly Resilient Virus
Parvovirus can live for years in the environment – anywhere a sick dog was present. For this reason, it’s important not to introduce new dogs into a household where a dog has had parvovirus without them having proper vaccination first. It’s also important to remember that it’s only safe for properly vaccinated dogs to visit locations where lots of dogs are present such as dog parks, dog-friendly hiking trails, doggy daycare, dog groomers, and boarding facilities.
How to Protect Your Dog from Parvo
Unfortunately, when it comes to treating parvo, there’s nothing we can do to combat the virus in a dog’s system. We can only provide supportive, palliative care by treating the dog’s symptoms, helping to stave off dehydration with intravenous fluids, and administering antibiotics to prevent further bacterial infection.
The best way to protect a dog from parvovirus is to vaccinate. Beginning at around six to eight weeks of age, puppies should receive a parvovirus vaccine and boosters every three to four weeks until the pet is at least 14 weeks old. If you adopt an older puppy with no vaccine history, the puppy should receive an initial CPV vaccine and a booster shot about three weeks later.
Puppies and dogs who are not vaccinated or do not receive their booster shots according to the recommended vaccine schedule have a high risk of contracting parvovirus. Improperly vaccinated dogs are the ones that usually contract the disease. Do not let your dog mix with other dogs or visit high-traffic areas until properly vaccinated.
To learn more about parvo and your dog’s vaccination schedule, we welcome you to schedule a wellness and preventative care appointment with Pacific Pet Hospital in San Diego.