Parvovirus is a name that strikes fear in every puppy owner. Why? Because this is a dangerous, incredibly contagious virus usually attacks puppies less than 1 year of age. It can be spread by people, animals, or objects. The virus is resistant to many disinfectants and loves to hang out in the environment for MONTHS. While puppies can survive the virus infection with intensive veterinary care, it can be lethal without treatment.
How can you protect your puppy?
Vaccinate them!!! They need their first set of parvo vaccines starting at 8 weeks old, and they must be repeated every few weeks until they are at least 16 weeks old (4 months). Boostering the vaccine allows for the highest immunity against the virus.
Symptoms of Parvoviral Infection:
Different Puppies show different symptoms but here are a few: not wanting to eat, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, and lack of activity. The combination of vomiting and diarrhea can lead to a fatal level of dehydration.
Your veterinarian can perform a reliable test in the clinic, which only takes about 15 minutes, to see if your puppy is positive for the parvovirus.
If a puppy comes down with parvo, the sooner they get into the vet, the higher their chance of recovery. They will usually need to be hospitalized so that your veterinarian can combat the dehydration with lots of intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medications, and antibiotics for the secondary bacterial infections. They need almost around the clock care over the next week, or even up to 3 weeks. Costs for treatment can range from $500 to $1500. It is much cheaper to vaccinate!!! (As a comparison, 3 days in a human hospital can be as much as $40,000. It definitely pays to vaccinate!)
Breeds that are at higher risk:
Labradors, Doberman’s, German Shepherds, Staffordshire Terriers (pit bulls)
If you suspect your puppy has contracted the Parvovirus please contact your veterinarian immediately.