Canine parvovirus is a disease that attacks the intestines. The condition is caused by a highly contagious virus. Infected dogs shed the virus in their stool. Dogs can then become infected if they sniff or consume the infected feces. Dogs can shed the virus even if they show no symptoms themselves. The virus particles can also be spread to your dog via hands, shoes, and clothing. Other objects such as water dishes and food bowls can also harbor these particles.
Just because a dog is infected with parvovirus doesn’t mean that it’ll necessarily show any symptoms. The severity of the disease is dependent upon the dog’s age, environment, and overall health condition. Common symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, and depression. The stool may have blood in it also may have a very foul odor.
It is also possible for the virus to target the heart, although this is very rare. If it does occur, the dog will likely experience irregular heartbeats and other symptoms of congestive heart failure. It is also very likely that the dog will die.
In order to diagnose canine parvovirus, the vet will take note of any symptoms your dog is showing. Laboratory tests will also be conducted to detect the virus in the feces. It is possible that the tests come back negative since the virus is shed sporadically. Therefore it is best that any testing be done soon after signs of the disease first appear.
There is no specific cure for parvovirus in dogs. Therefore, treatment mainly consists of providing supportive care. To ward off any secondary bacterial infections, antibiotics will be administered. Intravenous fluids will also be given to prevent dehydration. Parasites commonly take advantage of your dog’s weakened immune system to infect him. Therefore, broad-spectrum deworming medication should be administered. Medications may also be necessary to keep control of diarrhea and vomiting.
Most dogs are capable of surviving a bout with canine parvovirus. However, very young puppies can very easily die from the disease. Even after recovery, dogs will be weak and be very prone to developing other diseases like distemper. Also, they will continue to shed the virus in their stool for weeks after recovery.
The virus that causes this disease is very hardy. It can withstand extreme temperatures whether they be hot or cold. It also won’t be destroyed by regular detergents, disinfectants, or alcohol. Therefore, it is vital to have your dog vaccinated against this disease.