|Canine parvovirus type 2
(CPV2, colloquially parvo)
Odds are if your around dogs long enough you will hear of it or see it.
It is especially devastating to litters of pups and puppies in general.
Parvo is common and a serious viral disease that effects dogs.
The virus is known as Parvovirus.
The virus is often referred to as Parvo.
It appeared in 1978, and there was an epidemic in dogs.
Since no dogs had ever been exposed or vaccinated
(the vaccine had not been created yet),
dogs of all ages died from the infection.
The virus has mutated over time,
and other strains have appeared but vaccinations
are now available for older puppies and adult dogs.
Canine Parvovirus is thought to be a mutation from the
feline Parvovirus, known as Feline Distemper virus.
Symptoms of Parvovirus infection
There are three manifestations of Parvovirus infection these include:
No signs seen
Common in dogs over 1 year old and vaccinated dogs
(Yes even if they are vaccinated they can still become infected).
They are often called a carrier since no signs are seen
the dog spreads the virus to other dogs (IE: Doggy parks:Play dates etc.)
That is why we say never take your dog to places such as this
and allow them to roam or associate with other dogs or
areas where other dogs have been allowed to go to the bathroom etc
or in full body contact such as play or sniffing etc.
If you have to use these areas try to find a spot that had
minimal usage by other dogs or not as frequented by
them especially if your dog is a puppy (under 6 mos old)
and insure you vaccinate your dog on time.
This form of the disease is less common due to the use of vaccines.
But this form causes severe inflammation and necrosis (cell death),
of the heart muscle causing breathing difficulty and death
in very young (less than 8 weeks of age) puppies.
Older dogs that survive have scarring in the heart muscle.
This is the one that is most problematic to puppy owners.
The virus causes extreme damage to the intestinal tract,
causing sloughing of the cells that line the tract.
There are microscopic follicles that line the intestinal tract
that extract fluid and nutrients from food as it passes.
These follicles are essentially killed so most deaths are from dehydration.
Although these follicles will grow back most puppies
never live long enough to see it. Veterinarians generally
treat with inter venous fluids if the veins have not already
collapsed and monitor for secondary infections or other organ related events.
This infection leaves the dog open to secondary bacterial infection.
Most of the affected dogs (85%) are less than one
year old and between 6-20 weeks. This is why your new puppy
must have several vaccinations before venturing out into the world.
But as discussed below you yourself can bring the virus home.
The intestinal version symptons:
Lethargy (Going Flat lays down will not stand)
Loss of appetite
Ceases to drink
Lack of urination
(This has a particular odor that once smelled you will always remember)
When a section of the inflamed intestinal tract telescopes into itself
The onset of the virus is usually sudden, often 12 hours or less.
The incubation from exposure to seeing signs varies from 3 to 10 days
This disease is diagnosed by physical examination, often times
by the experience of the vet who will
recognize the smell mentioned above.
Additional diagnostics include: Fecal Parvo
(ELISA) test blood work and radiographs.
Remember the old saying,
"An Ounce Prevention is worth a pound of cure"
In this case it does:
In regards to this virus which is still very prevalent prevention begins with ensuring that your puppy is properly
vaccinated and that the puppy is not exposed to other dogs or areas where potential carriers may have visited.
Professional breeders have their new born puppies and mother separated from other dogs.
If they have other dogs on premises they handle new pups with surgical gloves and utilize a disinfectant constantly
along with a disinfectant foot wipe. ( We used a metal pan with a rug or towel laid on it and
saturated with a commercial disinfectant or bleach.
Any one entering the area wiped their feet
on it before stepping into the room.)
The puppies are kept like this even after weaning
until their shots are up to date and they can be
safely exposed to the outside world.
Allot of Parvo infections are brought home to
your puppy delivered like door to door service.
This done by having it on the bottom of your shoe from
walking in an area that a infected carrier has been.
Also, taking your puppy to your vet and allowing it to roam
inside or outside where potential sick dogs have been,
again you can also bring it back to your home by having it on your shoes.
We are not saying "Do not take your puppy to the vet",
but when you do just be observant and utilize a crate or carry your puppy in.
Most veterinarians sterilize their waiting rooms especially if a parvo dog has been in.
Another problematic situation is the owner who thinks they are doing their puppy a favor by taking them out in public
with minimal vaccinations to dog parks or dog house parties or the countless other idiotic anthropomorphic gatherings
If you do, you place your puppy at risk not only to parvo but other infectious diseases and parasites.
Here again you have to utilize caution, just remember you would not take a newborn human animal out to 20 or 30 other
babies or adults for that matter unless you really enjoy living on the edge with your babies health. The same priciple
appies to your dog.
Common sense and a little due diligence and vaccinations will ensure your puppy will stay happy and healthy.
John A Sampson I
00 + 1 + 989-662-6230 International