Canine Parvovirus - Contagion, symptoms and treatment

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The canine parvovirus wave canine parvovirus It is a viral disease that especially affects puppies, although it can affect any type of dog, even when vaccinated. It is a disease highly contagious and lethal affecting the intestines and manifested by bloody diarrhea.

On many occasions, and due to ignorance, some owners have confused the symptoms of parvo, which results in a wrong diagnosis. For that reason, if you are the happy owner of a dog, we recommend that you continue reading this AnimalWised article and learn in depth about canine parvovirus, its symptoms, contagion, treatment and prevention.

You may also be interested in: Feline Parvovirus - Contagion, symptoms and treatment Index
  1. What is canine parvovirus? How does it work?
  2. Canine parvovirus symptoms
  3. Canine parvovirus transmission
  4. Differential diagnosis of canine parvovirus
  5. Canine parvovirus treatment
  6. Feeding a dog infected with canine parvovirus
  7. Prevention of canine parvoriosis

What is canine parvovirus? How does it work?

The canine parvovirus it is a virus that was identified in 1978. Since then, the initial strain has changed genetically, which implies different manifestations of the virus that make it difficult to detect. It is a disease that mainly affects the intestines, causing enteritis, and all types of members of the Canidae family such as dogs, wolves or coyotes are susceptible to it..

This infectious disease it is resistant to both physical and chemical factors and has a very high survival rate in the environment. Has a predilection for settle into rapidly reproducing cells such as the intestines, tissues of the immune system or fetal tissues. In the most severe cases, it can attack the heart muscle, resulting in sudden death..

The presence of the virus in the dog's intestine makes it more susceptible to suffering a bacterial infection. Also, if the epithelial tissue is damaged, bacteria can pass into the blood, causing a generalized infection..

Symptoms of canine parvovirus

As we have commented before, canine parvovirus has a predilection for genetic mutation, but even so, the detection of this fearsome virus is possible through the most common symptoms, of which some will always develop. But, ¿how does parvovirus start in dogs?

The canine parvovirus symptoms are:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Very severe vomiting
  • The dog seems sleepy, sluggish, or very tired
  • Severe, bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Rapid dehydration
  • Soft spot
  • You can go into shock due to loss of fluids
  • The heart may be affected

We generally talk about symptoms similar to those caused by gastroenteritis, so it is often confused and detected late. It is also possible to confuse the symptoms of canine parvovirus with some of the symptoms of poisoning in dogs..

We must know that all these symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea, fever or decay among others) cause a very rapid dehydration of the animal, so treatment should be started as soon as possible. Even so, it should be noted that these clinical symptoms are not always shown in the dog, sometimes they go unnoticed in very small puppies or elderly dogs..

In the more serious cases, parvovirus or parvovirus can cause a decrease in white blood cells. On the other hand, if the affected dog is a puppy less than three months old, it may suffer from an inflammation of the heart. In these cases there is no diarrhea and the puppy can die in a matter of minutes or days..

If you survive, the heart damage can become so severe that it will most likely end your life. In this way, when faced with any or several of these symptoms of canine parvovirus, we recommend that you go to your as soon as possible veterinarian trusted to examine your pet.


Canine parvovirus transmission

This virus is especially stable in the middle, so its presence in public places can be an epidemic, since it can remain in the same place for months. It is common for dogs to become infected with parvovirus in shelters, kennels, dog parks or recreational areas.

Although there are breeds more vulnerable to this type of virus, such as the German Shepherd, the Doberman, the Pit Bull Terrier or the Rottwailer, there are also factors that can predispose your pet such as stress, intestinal parasites or overcrowding..

It is common for this virus to attack dogs puppies under 6 months , although it is also frequent that it affects unvaccinated adult dogs. For this reason, we always emphasize the importance of regular visits to the vet and monitoring the dog's vaccination schedule..

Although there are several ways of contact, this disease is usually transmitted orally, When the dog comes into contact with infected feces, infected urine, food, breast milk, various objects and even, we could wear it in our shoes without knowing it. It should also be noted that some insects or rodents can be hosts of the virus, so deworming our dog should also be a priority when it comes to preventing infection..

Dogs that are already infected will shed the virus for three weeks, even before showing any clinical symptoms of the disease, and once recovered they will continue to shed it for some time.

It should be noted that parvovirus is not infectious to humans.

Differential diagnosis of canine parvovirus

Canine parvovirus can usually be diagnosed by testing simple observation of the clinical symptoms exhibited by the dog, however it should always be confirmed by Lab tests. The veterinarian will examine the stool samples for the presence of canine parvovirus (CPV) antigens using a diagnostic kit..

Canine parvovirus treatment

If your dog has definitely been infected by the parvo virus, take him immediately to the vet to analyze the situation and diagnose the disease. Treatment with canine parvovirus will begin as soon as possible and its main objectives will be fight symptoms such as dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, control of vomiting and diarrhea, etc..

There is no 100% effective treatment to combat parvovirus, veterinarians follow a series of treatments that in some cases give good results. These are some of the steps that follow:

  • Rehydration of the dog with the dosed administration of serum. The use of Ringer-Lactate is common for these cases. It is combined with colloids and is usually given intravenously.
  • For heart or kidney problems, serum doses should be administered with great care, as they are not always adequately tolerated..
  • Blood transfusions to alleviate blood loss through diarrhea.
  • Once the dog is stabilized, continue with a maintenance fluid therapy, basically composed of sugars, together with potassium chloride.
  • In some cases, the administration of potassium for your recovery.
  • Use of antibiotics Y antiemetics.
  • Use of Tamiflu: the use of this medicine is more and more widespread due to its successes in some cases. It should always be completed with the previous treatments, as indicated by the veterinarian.

Supportive treatment for canine parvovirus

The internment of the dog in the infectious room from the veterinary center is highly recommended in puppies that have not received any vaccine against canine parvovirus. On the contrary, in puppies that have already received the 2 or 3 necessary vaccines (primary, multipurpose and recall), hospitalization is not always recommended since it has a greater chance of survival..

If your dog is not going to stay in the hospital, your veterinarian can explain the appropriate doses and do it yourself using the serum backpacks. Remember that your dog cannot be in contact with other dogs, as it could infect them. You should go to your veterinarian to control the progress and development of the disease in the patient.

For one correct elimination of the trace of the virus in the environment you should use bleach. Then you will clean with ammonia. Later with chlorine. Yes indeed, never mix these products, they must be used separately. The use of all of them should be done with the use of gloves, a mask and caution. Do not expose your dog or people who live with you in the home to breathe toxic fumes. Isolate them in other rooms and ventilate well.

We recommend that you discard all utensils, including the dog's bed, feeders, and toys, and replace them with new ones. Sanitize the entire environment, including the house and terrace.

If you wish adopt to a new canine limb, wait at least 6 months to get hold of him. The parvo virus is very resistant and can persist for a long time in the environment, even after having thoroughly sanitized the area. During this waiting time, find out about products that eliminate the trace in pet stores or at the veterinary clinic. Pay attention to the expert before wanting to include another dog in your life, his health is at stake.

Home remedies for parvovirus in dogs

As we have already told you, there is no effective treatment to treat canine parvovirus, however, it is possible to use certain home remedies for canine parvovirus, with the aim of relieve symptoms and offer a better quality of life the individual suffering from this serious disease.

However, we remember the importance of always consulting with the veterinarian about the application of any remedy or alternative treatment to ensure that it is appropriate according to the clinical picture presented by the dog..

Feeding a dog infected with canine parvovirus

If our dog has been diagnosed with the parvo virus, it is important that we know what type of food is the most appropriate so that its recovery is faster and more comfortable. Aside from follow the vet's instructions, It will be important to review these basic diet tips:

  • Hydration: An essential part of the treatment of parvovirus is the administration of the serum to counteract the effects of diarrhea and vomiting. To drink much water will help in this hydration process. Isotonic drinks are also a good option, as they provide the lost mineral salts. Change your dog's water at least twice a day, cleaning and giving him new.
  • Avoid food: at least in the first 24 - 48 hours which is when the virus is especially virulent. At most you can give him fully strained homemade chicken broth without salt, onion, or seasonings..
  • Bland diet: after 48 hours it is considered that the dog has passed the most serious part of the disease, then it can start consuming a soft diet. We recommend that you include rice water, homemade chicken broth, white rice, and soft canned food. Remember that you should not season it or add salt.

Once the dog has recovered its health and as long as your vet tells you, you can re-administer the usual feed.

Prevention of canine parvoriosis

Strictly following the dog's vaccination schedule is the most effective way to prevent this virus, which in many cases can be fatal. Usually given for the first time when the dog is a puppy (at six weeks) but it can be applied earlier if it is estimated that you are at risk. Before reaching adulthood, the administration is repeated again, at 8 and 12 weeks. Finally it is administered a reminder annually, so that the dog continues to be protected against the virus.

The vaccines can contain the attenuated virus or the enhanced live virus, in any case we can always consult with our veterinarian which of the vaccines he is going to decide to use..

If you suspect that in the area where you live there are dogs infected with canine parvovirus, we recommend that you follow these tips:

  • Follow strictly the vaccination schedule and the vet's instructions.
  • Follow strictly dog deworming and the vet's instructions.
  • Bathe your dog with the appropriate frequency and maintain proper body hygiene.
  • Disinfect your home using bleach and, later, some enzymatic product.
  • Keep your dog's food in a clean and isolated place, free of possible transmitters.
  • Disinfect your dog's products, such as his bed, bowl, toys...
  • Prevent the unvaccinated puppy from coming into contact with the environment and other dogs.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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