Canine Parvovirus in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & More | petMD | petMD
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Parvo in Dogs

Is Parvovirus Treatable?


Since the disease is a viral infection, there is no real cure for it. Parvovirus treatment is focused on curing the symptoms and preventing secondary bacterial infections, preferably in a hospital environment. Intensive therapy and systemic support are the keys to recovery.


Intravenous fluid and nutrition therapy are crucial in maintaining a dog’s normal body fluid after severe diarrhea and dehydration, and protein and electrolyte levels will be monitored and regulated as necessary. Medications that may be used in the treatment include drugs to curb vomiting (antiemetics), antacids, gastroprotectants, prescription pet antibiotics, and anthelmintics (vet-recommended dewormers) to fight parasites. The survival rate in dogs is about 70 percent when treated in the hospital, but death may sometimes result from severe dehydration, a severe secondary bacterial infection, bacterial toxins in the blood or a severe intestinal hemorrhage.


Prognosis is lower for puppies, since they have a less developed immune system. It is common for a puppy who is infected with CPV to suffer shock and sudden death.


It is possible to treat parvovirus in your home under the direction of your veterinarian. It is a very labor-intensive process but can mean the difference between life and death when funds or circumstances do not permit in-hospital treatment. Your veterinarian will teach you to give fluids and to monitor vital signs.


Living and Management


Even after your dog has recovered from a CPV infection, they will still have a weakened immune system for some time, and will be susceptible to other illnesses. A high-quality, easily digestible diet is best for your dog during recovery.


Your dog will also continue to be a contagion risk to other dogs for at least two months after the initial recovery. You will need to isolate your dog from other dogs for a period of time, and you may want to tell neighbors who have dogs that they will need to have their own pets tested.


Wash all of the objects your dog uses (e.g., dishes, dog crate, dog kennel, dog toys). Machine washing is best—anything that can go into the dishwasher or washing machine and dryer should. Everything else should be deep-cleaned using a concentrated bleach solution as recommended by your veterinarian.


Recovery comes with long-term immunity against the parvovirus, but it is no guarantee that your pet will not be infected with the virus again.


Prevention of Parvo in Dogs


The best prevention you can take against CPV infection is to follow the correct protocol for vaccination. Young puppies should be vaccinated beginning at six weeks of age, with at least two vaccines after 10 weeks of age, and should not be socialized with unknown dogs until at least two weeks after their third vaccination.


High-risk breeds may require a longer initial vaccination period of up to 22 weeks. During this time, your puppy should only socialize in private areas with known dogs. Friends and family members with healthy, fully vaccinated dogs can bring those dogs to your home, or you can bring the puppy to their home. Avoid all public areas where dogs spend time, including the dog park, dog beach, pet stores and other dog-designated areas.


Always pick up feces immediately. This is a good habit to start immediately, as it reduces environmental contamination and reduces the spread of intestinal parasites.


Parvo virus is a disease with serious consequences. Fast action by you and your veterinarian gives your dog the best prognosis for a full recovery.


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