Canine Parvovirus type 2 (CPV2), commonly known as parvo, is an infectious virus usually affecting dogs.
The virus is said to be a mutation of the feline panleukopenia virus that came from cats. The virus is highly contagious and can be spread from one dog to another via fecal-oral route.
Although it can cause dogs to become terribly sick, it cannot cause any infection to humans.
Below are some vital information about the virus, including signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and the necessary things to do when a dog gets infected.
Puppies have a greater risk of contracting the virus. Veterinarians suggest that puppies are more at risk to parvovirus due to their underdeveloped immune systems.
However, it is important to note that not only puppies are at risk, but dogs of any age can also contract the virus especially when they have not received vaccination yet or missed on their booster shots.
Certain breeds are more at risk than others. Studies and meta-analysis of case reports suggest that there are certain breeds of dog that are more susceptible to getting infected by the virus. This includes German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels, Alaskan Huskies, Rottweilers, Pit Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers.
Vaccination against Parvovirus is available. Prevention of the onset of the disease is the best way to keep your dog healthy.
Vaccinations are recommended to be given starting at 7 to 8 weeks of age, and boosters should be administered every 3 to 4 weeks until the dog is 16 weeks old. However, pregnant dogs should not be vaccinated because it can make the dog very sick and eventually lead to abortion.
Parvovirus is hard to kill. The virus is extremely tough and can survive in dog feces or other organic materials like soil for more than 10 years. It can withstand extreme temperatures but can be eradicated using bleach.
Because of this, dogs can easily acquire the virus when they walk on places with parvo lying around and proceed to lick their paws. The virus then spreads to the bloodstream and the infected dog becomes a carrier and can further infect other dogs through their feces.
Signs and Symptoms.
Dogs infected with the virus starts to exhibit signs and symptoms as early as 3 to 7 days after contracting it.
The primary sign of CPV infection is lethargy, dog exhibit lack or energy or extreme fatigue even without doing any activity. This is followed by a low appetite, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.
This can lead to secondary infections due to the weakened immune system of the dog.
The most common secondary infection is acute canine enteritis which can severely damage the dog’s intestinal walls.
Signs and symptoms exhibited by dogs infected with parvo are sometimes similar to other diseases that’s why it is important to see a veterinarian once your dog starts to show any of these symptoms.
Diagnosis can be made using ELISA, hemagglutination test, electron microscopy, and lately PCR.
These tests will only take about minutes to do. A swab from your dog’s anus or a fecal sample will be collected, brought to the lab and tests will be conducted to determine if parvovirus is the real culprit.
The success of the treatment greatly depends on how quickly the infection is diagnosed. Treatment involves hospitalization of dog.
They are given IV Fluids to replenish the loss of electrolytes, antiemetics to prevent further vomiting, and injections of antibiotics to prevent other infections and kill the virus.
Blood plasma transfusion from dogs that survived CPV is sometimes given to give the dog passive immunity against the infection.
As mentioned, vaccination is the best way to prevent dogs from contracting the virus. Maintaining the dog’s environment is also crucial in making sure they don’t get any serious illness soon.
Moreover, early diagnosis determines the success of treatment that’s why owners need to be vigilant with their dogs at all times.