The parvovirus is a potentially devastating canine disease that is also very prevalent in most communities. It is often considered the most widespread of all dog diseases, affecting a vast amount of both dogs and puppies every single year.
Parvo is always serious, and can result in lingering effects even when overcome. As with most any potential dog health issue, knowledge is key when it comes to quickly identifying and treating it.
This article will explain what parvo is, how it’s treated, and other problems that can arise from it, such as kennel cough.
Parvo refers to a general family of viruses that cause the condition. Parvo is incredibly deadly, and can prove fatal around 80% of the time. Although any dog can get parvo, puppies are the most common group to contract it, which is why it’s often fatal.
Parvo is extremely contagious, and can sometimes be spread just by being near an affected dog or its waste. This can include microscopic pieces of fecal matter being tracked into a home.
The parvovirus is comprised of a lone strand of DNA, and is practically impossible to get rid of, even with strong disinfectant use. It can also live on a host for up to five months with no signs. Simply put, parvo is impossible to prevent naturally,, so the focus should be on vaccination and treatment.
The general symptoms of parvo can be summed up as having a sick dog. Fever, lack of appetite, lethargy, frequent vomiting, and diarrhea are common symptoms, and should grab your attention immediately.
Some dogs may not show symptoms very strongly at first, but things can turn rather quickly. Be extra mindful of puppies that display even the mildest forms of these symptoms, and seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when considering that time is of the essence when it comes to treating it. One parvo is contracted, it becomes a race against time.
For a puppy battling parvo, the word “battle” is an understatement. The puppy will go through significant tribulation when trying to fight it off, with even the strongest puppies sometimes succumbing to the virus.
Puppies and dogs with severe cases are treated at a veterinary facility, for anywhere from five days to sometimes up to two weeks total. During treatment, the dog will receive IV fluids, medications, and antibiotics to fight off the virus while maintaining vital fluids and nutrients.
Proper balance is necessary for recovery, along with a bit of luck, unfortunately. Even the best veterinarians and facilities can’t always guarantee that a dog or puppy will make it through. The ones that do can suffer from intestine and heart problems for the rest of their lives.
This is where you can make the biggest difference. Parvo vaccines are extremely effective in preventing the disease from getting a foot in the door, and should be sought as soon as the puppy is old enough.
If possible, you should have your puppy begin vaccinations around the 6 week old mark, and continue with booster shots until about 16 weeks old. Doing so will do wonders in protecting your puppy and setting it up for a long and healthy life.
In the event that you have to delay the vaccinations, Do everything you can to shelter your puppy from any potential carriers. This includes watching wear you step, while also keeping your puppy away from other animals.
Kennel cough is another common canine disease, and one that can actually result from contracting parvo. Sometimes referred to as Bordetella, kennel cough can best be described as a sort of cold that your dog gets.
When on it’s own, it can sound fairly alarming, but that’s usually not the case. Kennel cough is very similar to bronchitis in humans, and usually sounds like your dog is trying to cough out something that is stuck in its throat.
Kennel cough is very contagious, and the chances of “catching” it can be increased from a dog going through things like stress from traveling, poorly ventilated kennels, cold, and exposure to smoke and dust.
Symptoms generally include a consistent and very serious-sounding cough. Sneezing, excessive eye discharge, and runny nose are other common symptoms that signify the presence of kennel cough.
Unlike many other illnesses that your dog an endure, kennel cough rarely results in lethargy, loss of appetite, or lack of energy from your dog. It can take it in stride, unless it’s part of a bigger problem such as parvo.
First and foremost, if you suspect your dog of having kennel cough, you should do your best to keep it from being around other animals in your household, or you’ll have an outbreak on your hands.
Kennel cough can often fade away without treatment over time, so you can usually just wait it out. If this isn’t an option to you, your veterinarian can prescribe your dog antibiotics and other medications that can help to speed up recovery including cough suppressants.
Using a humidifier in your home can help to treat the cough as well, and swapping a harness out for a collar and leash when walking will help cut down on the coughing.
Dogs should be able to get over kennel cough within 3 to 6 weeks. If it continues on past that, seek veterinarian help, as your dog may be developing pneumonia, or be suffering from something else more serious.
There are some steps you can take to decrease the chances of your dog contracting kennel cough in the first place.
Several vaccines are available in different forms, all of which can offer significant help in preventing it. Injections, nasal mists, and oral vaccines are all widely available, but keep in mind that they are for prevention, not treatment.
You can also help to prevent kennel cough by keeping your dog away from other dogs who are displaying the symptoms. Keeping your home at a proper humidity and temperature can help as well, as does proper ventilation in kennels.