The parvovirus is a quiet and serious threat to your dog’s health. It is one of the many vaccinations that veterinarians recommend. Not all vaccinations are an obligation, and some people feel that vaccinating dogs who are not exposed to certain elements presents a danger, such as introducing trace amounts of the virus or bacteria into the dog’s body might be more hazardous when a risk is not present. However, when choosing to eliminate a vaccination in your dog’s life, you should fully understand, what is parvo before opting to avoid it. This is true for any vaccination that you may be considering now getting for your dog.
The parvovirus, which is actually a transmittable virus, is extremely dangerous to dogs of all ages. Puppies are often much more at risk because of their still developing immune system and their decreased likelihood of developing some resistance to the virus from previous vaccinations. Puppies can not be vaccinated against the parvovirus until they are twelve weeks old. Many puppies still go home to their new families at eight weeks. This means that for an entire month the new human family will have to be especially careful regarding the potential for parvo to sneak into their lives.
Dogs and puppies infected with parvo can have a wide range of symptoms. Since the viral infection heads directly for the digestive system and the lining of the digestive system, a dog infected with the parvovirus will not be able to maintain the nutrients you are giving them. This can have long term effects since, despite the fact that you are feeding them, they are essentially starving to death.
Symptoms of Parvo
Initially, a dog infected with parvo is likely to become rather lethargic, since he is rather deprived of nutrition, and may stop eating altogether since he is uncomfortable. Likewise, his energy has been sapped and just like ill humans have a loss of appetite, dogs are likely to experience this as well. Some dogs may vomit, and most will experience diarrhea that is particularly watery and bloody, perhaps yellow, and is particularly negatively aromatic. This is usually the biggest indicator that the dog is in a seriously compromised state of health. Any time your dog experiences particularly foul diarrhea tinged or laden with blood, he should be examined by a veterinarian immediately.
A high fever may set in either at the very beginning or during the stage where your pup develops diarrhea. It can be difficult to tell whether or not a dog is running a high fever without the appropriate rectal thermometer. By most indications, a hot and dry nose can be an indicator, but some dogs experience a warm and dry nose during various times of the year or can still have a room temperature mildly moist nose even with the onset of a fever. In most cases, dog owners are oblivious to their dog’s fever until his temperature is checked at the veterinarian’s office.
A pup’s heart can be affected by parvovirus. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell that your dog is experiencing cardiac problems until it is too late. Congestive heart failure does not necessarily show up at the time of his most intense illness. In fact, a large percentage of dogs have been known to develop congestive heart failure a few years post infection, after the human in the relationship has all but forgotten about his mess with parvovirus. The most obvious sign of congestive heart failure is difficulty breathing and lethargy. If your dog is only willing to lie around and gasp for air or is taking shallow and quick breaths, rush him to the vet immediately. This is a very serious condition that can not be treated at home.
Dehydration and shock can set in, which is usually a precursor to death for dogs infected with parvovirus. Understanding not only severity of parvo, but understanding what is parvo can make the entire experience very scary for pet owners, but it does empower them to understand the necessary steps toward saving their dog. If your dog is not vaccinated, experiences these symptoms, or has been knowingly exposed, the slightest sign of parvo should be handled with very serious intentions.
This doesn’t completely answer the question, what is parvo. Parvovirus can take a week to ten days to show up after the dog has been exposed. It lives everywhere in many states along the Atlantic and Pacific regions and to varying degrees throughout the country. The virus can be picked up from the ground, other dogs, even be tracked into your house on your shoes. There is no cure for parvo, only treatment and the best hopes and prayers in the world that your little bundle gets better and does so quickly. Parvo is a very serious illness and should be considered one of the greatest hazards to dogs. Vaccinations are the only method of prevention.