What Is Parvo?
Parvo is a systemic infection that affects the intestinal lining in canines. The infection can spread through a litter of puppies by way of infected feces. Puppies usually die within hours or days after symptoms show up. Dehydration is the primary cause of death, and treatment with fluids can save a puppy if applied quickly and forcibly. Veterinarians treating a puppy with parvo will usually begin an I.V. immediately, hoping to combat the illness with a flood of fluids to hydrate the puppy. An infusion of promethazine, or some other anti-nausea drug, will help prevent reguritation.
How Long Before A Puppy Shows Signs of Parvo?
If your puppy, or puppies, are exposed to the parvo virus, they may not show symptoms until six to ten days afterwards. These symptoms include a watery diarrhea, vomiting, weakness and loss of appetite. Parvo is a very serious and deadly condition for dogs, and once they have contacted the virus, the chance of survival is less than twenty percent. Even so, with prompt and aggressive treatment, some puppies have survived this deadly disease. Proper treatment of parvo includes a good supply of fluids and antibiotics, as well as other nutrients added to rehydration solutions.
Parvo should be treated as soon as possible. If you cannot afford the services of a veterinarian, you should aggressively treat your puppy by forcing liquids with a meat basting syringe. Gatorade, clear broth or infant pedialyte can help hydrate a sick puppy, but must be forcibly given as often as possible. Home treatment must replicate the treatment from a veterinary office which provides hydration intravenously, so you must force the liquids every few minutes. You can make an effective oral rehydration solution by adding a teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of sugar to a quart of sugar.
The cardiac form of parvo affects the respiratory system of dogs. Cardiovascular parvo is rare, and is usually contacted by the unborn puppy before birth. Puppies may be stillborn or die soon after birth, due to the disease causing cardiovascular failure. The utero infection will normally affect all of the unborn puppies. Keeping dogs vaccinated against parvo from three weeks to age three or four has greatly reduced the presence of this form of parvo at birth.
Can You Prevent Parvo?
Parvo is a preventable disease. Vaccines given at six to eight weeks can protect a litter of puppies from this devastating killer. Many people can lose every puppy they have from parvo. If one puppy has it, chances are every puppy will become infected. Since symptoms can take up to six days to show up, if one puppy shows signs of parvo, you should take every puppy in the litter to the vet immediately. Dogs should have parvo vaccines every three weeks following the intial vaccination, up to twenty weeks of age. Booster shots should also be given after a year of age and every year afterwards.
Parvo is a disease that spreads quickly and should be taken seriously. It is considered extremely contagious. If one puppy has it, you are right to assume every puppy will be affected. Disinfecting the kennel or sleeping area of the dogs with bleach can help, but once exposed, every puppy should be examined by a veterinarian immediately. The parvo virus has been known to stay active and affect the soil of a contaminated kennel area for up to one year.
Do not expect any result except death if puppy or dog is not promptly treated. The vaccinations available are harmless and offer protection from all known strains of the disease.