By: Tamara Kees
Fairgrounds Animal Hospital
Fairgrounds Animal Hospital feels it is important to educate pet parents about Canine Parvovirus, and we’d like to offer pet owner’s the best defense against preventable disease—knowledge! Today we’ll focus on Canine Parvovirus, or Parvo. Parvo is transmitted from dog to dog by infected fecal matter. Unfortunately Parvo is a hardier virus that can live on surfaces and in the ground for years—there doesn’t need to be any fresh feces or visible matter at all to transmit. A diagnosis of Parvo is very serious. Prognosis, even if detected early, is guarded to very poor. Immediate hospitalization, IV fluids, and medications are needed. Still, many patients with Parvo do not survive due to the damage it causes to the intestinal tract and severe dehydration caused by constant vomiting and diarrhea. Parvo is very expensive to treat: the several days of hospitalization and treatment cost $1500 to $3000. After diagnosis and/or treatment, exhaustive sanitizing must also be done in the home to reduce the chance of spreading the virus for years to come.
Fortunately, vaccines are a safe, effective, and inexpensive way to prevent Parvo. A brief vaccine exam and DA2PP vaccine—which includes Parvo and several other common deadly canine diseases—only takes about 30 minutes and costs about $50 per year. Signs of Parvo include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite. Puppies are especially susceptible to Parvo because they have not had enough time to develop the necessary antibodies with their first few vaccinations. Please keep your puppy away from other unvaccinated dogs until about 2 weeks after their last Parvo booster—usually about 20 weeks of age. If you notice any symptoms of Parvo in your puppy or adult dog, bring them for an exam as soon as possible—it may be a false alarm and just a tummy issue, but it is always better to be safe than sorry! Early detection and treatment is the least expensive Parvo intervention and carries the best prognosis. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!