Parvovirus is a virus that is found in the soil and dog’s stool. It is a hardy virus and survives winters. Puppies in particular are the most susceptible to this virus. Dogs can contract parvovirus from digging in the soil and licking their paws or ingesting other dogs stool. The virus can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration and severe lethargy. The virus attacks the puppy’s bone marrow and can wipe out their white blood cells, which fight infection, and leave them open to bacterial infections. Treatment involves supportive care as we have no specific antiviral medication that is effective. It includes hospitalization on intravenous fluids, anti-vomiting medication and antibiotics. Some puppies are more affected and need plasma transfusions. Some puppies must use treatment for only a few days while others need 7 to 10 days. It is best to try to avoid parvovirus infection by vaccinating puppies at 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, then at 1 year of age. Then the vaccine is given every 3 years.
Contact your veterinarian at Mission Ridge Animal Hospital about vaccinating your puppy today.
By Dr. Lori Skrypnek