What is Canine Parvovirus?

What is Parvovirus?

  • The highly contagious virus that can infect puppies (most commonly under the age of 5 months), dogs and wild canines (coyotes, foxes, wolves, etc.)
  • Several variants of CPV-2 (CPV-2a, 2b, 2c); although symptoms are relatively similar
  • Intestinal parvovirus (most common) and Cardiac parvovirus

How is Parvovirus spread?

  • HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS 
  • Spread through dog to dog contact, environment, infected stool, and people
  • The virus can lay dormant in kennels, water bowls, on leashes, clothing/hands of people who come in contact with infected dogs and several other surfaces. 
  • Can survive in the environment for extended periods of time and is resistant to heat, cold, and dry environments
  • Dogs can transfer the disease through their hair, or feet
  • Virus travels in the bloodstream
    • First attacks tonsils and lymph nodes in the mouth
    • Then travels via lymphocytes to the bloodstream
    • Once in the bloodstream, virus attacks rapidly dividing cells (cells that line the intestinal tract, bone marrow, and heart)
    • Breaks down the lining of gut-unable to absorb nutrients and eventually leads to severe diarrhea and vomiting 
    • Breaks down the immune system; Can lead to sepsis

What dogs are most at risk?

  • All dogs are at risk (Da2pp vx helps prevent, but does not make them immune) 
  • Puppies under 5 months old are the most at risk; dogs that have not received an adequate amount of Da2pp vx are also highly at risk
  • Some breeds thought to be more at risk
    • Pitbull terriers
    • German shepherds
    • Rottweilers (sorry Sharon)
    • Doberman pinschers (sorry CMA)
    • Labs
  • Breeds at less risk (compared to breeds listed above)
    • Toy poodles and cocker spaniels

Symptoms of Parvovirus

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea-often bloody 
  • inappetence
  • Hypothermia/hyperthermia 
  • Bloated/painful abdomen
  • Red gums
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Symptoms typically appear within 4-14 days after incubation period; virus is shed in feces 4-5 days post-exposure and can continue to be shed 2-3 weeks after recovery 
  • Most deaths occur within 2-3 days if not treated properly (many can die even after receiving proper treatment)

How is Parvovirus diagnosed and treated?

  • Suspected based on dogs history 
    • Vaccine status
    • Age
    • Environment
  • SNAP Parvo test/fecal tests
    • Detects shedding virus particles in the feces
    • Peak shedding occurs 4-7 days post-infection; the chance that test could come back negative and retesting several days later can result in a positive test
  • CBC tests 
    • Virus attacks WBC, results in a low WBC count on CBC
  • Treated with IV fluids, IV injections, antibiotics, etc.
    • IV fluids, maropitant, antibiotic injections
    • Famotidine 
      • Used to reduce stomach acid
    • None of these treatments cure or kill the disease; supportive measures to help stabilize the animal until the immune system can recover
    • Antibiotics are commonly used throughout treatment; will not kill the virus but can help prevent the victim from being infected by other bacterial infections while the immune system is compromised
  • The high success rate of recovery for patients that are treated at the hospital, however not guaranteed (roughly 80-90%) 
  • Vaccinate dogs every 3-4 weeks starting at 6/8 weeks of age. Continue until 20 weeks old, then yearly boosters for rest of life
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