The harmattan weather is creeping in and with it usually comes a condition every breeder and dog owner dreads; the Canine Parvovirus (CPV) commonly called Parvo. Parvo is a highly contagious and deadly canine disease that affects dogs of all breeds. Most cases are seen in puppies between 6 weeks and 6 months 0f age, however, adolescent dogs and canines who are not vaccinated are also susceptible to the virus.
The canine parvovirus affects most members of the dog family (wolves , foxes, etc.). Breeds at a higher risk of getting CPV are Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Labrador retrievers, American Staffordshire terriers and German shepherds.
The virus is spread through direct contact with an infected dog via the oral route. The virus is also contracted through an infected dog’s fecal waste, so canines who come in contact with the infected stool may contact the disease.
Symptoms of Parvo
The signs of Parvovirus begin with a loss of appetite, severe bloody diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, fever and severe weight. The virus also affects a dog’s ability to absorb nutrients, so infected dogs will quickly become dehydrated and week.
There is no cure for Parvovirus, but vets can treat symptoms of the infection by using antibiotics, anti-vomiting drugs, and fluid therapy to keep the dog hydrated, hospitalization is often required.
With a vet’s intervention, the survival rate of dogs diagnosed with Parvo is about 70% . If left untreated the disease is fatal in over 90% of cases. Puppies are more susceptible to death due to their less developed immune system.
Preventing the disease is the best way to keep your puppy safe. When puppies are born they inherit immunity from their mothers, this immunity wears off after the first few weeks of their lives and that is why it is important to boost your their immunity through vaccination. Puppies should be vaccinated around the 6th , 9th, 12th week (there’s usually a 3-week interval between vaccines) and possibly longer for high-risk breeds.
I hope this post was helpful to dog owners and breeders! Please take extra care not to socialize your dogs with unvaccinated or unfamiliar dogs until at least 2 weeks after their vaccination.