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Parvovirus, or "parvo", is a virus that attacks the lining of the digestive system. It causes dogs and puppies to not be able to absorb nutrients or liquids. Puppies are especially prone to it because they have an immature immune system. When dogs and puppies contract parvo, they often have diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. Usually they stop eating and develop a foul-smelling, liquid stool that may or may not contain blood.
Parvo is a deadly virus. Do not underestimate it. If your dog or puppy shows any of the symptoms, do not hesitate to seek veterinary care. Generally, it takes 7-10 days from the time of exposure for dogs and puppies to start showing symptoms and to test positive for parvo. If you have had your dog for less than 7 days, it is likely that the dog had parvo before you brought it home.
If your dog or puppy has any of the symptoms listed above, take him or her to a vet immediately! Do not delay!
Can it be treated successfully?
There is no treatment to kill the virus once it infects the dog. However, the virus does not directly cause death; rather, it causes loss of the lining of the intestinal tract. This results in severe dehydration, electrolyte (sodium and potassium) imbalances, and infection in the bloodstream (septicemia). When the bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract are able to get into the blood stream, it becomes more likely that the animal will die.
The first step in treatment is to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. This requires the administration of intravenous fluids containing electrolytes. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are given to prevent or control septicemia. Antispasmodic drugs are
used to inhibit the diarrhea and vomiting that perpetuate the problems.
What is the survival rate? Most dogs with CPV infection recover if aggressive treatment is used and if therapy is begun before severe septicemia and dehydration occur.
Parvo is a relatively new disease that was recognized in the late 1970's.
It is almost identical to the cat disease "Feline Panleukopenia".
Puppies should be carried as much as possible until fully vaccinated.
For some reason certain dog breeds and colors are more prone to catching the disease... Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds & Pitt Bulls
PLUS, ANY dog that is BLACK or Dark Brown in color
When Vaccinating, it is recommended that any dog, listed above, receive an additional vaccination to protect it from Parvo.
It is expensive to treat Parvo (which is why many vets suggest putting the dog to sleep)
But, in most cases, the dog / puppy can be treated and saved!