Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Parvovirus. It’s a disease that causes dread in just about every dog owner. There’s no known cure, it survives all sorts of disinfectants and environmental conditions and the most likely prognosis of infection is death.
But parvovirus is preventable!
Each year in the northern suburbs of Adelaide we see outbreaks of Parvo.
While normally spread from dog to dog via contact with faeces, the virus’ near indestructible nature means that it can survive in soils for a year or more and can attach to footwear, clothing, bedding, water bowls or toys and spread from there.
Only strong bleach or broad spectrum disinfectants can kill it, and when it strikes the consequences can be devastating.
Parvovirus attacks the lining of the intestines and bone marrow. While the virus destroys the lining of the gut it also prevents the bone marrow from producing white blood cells to combat it.
There is no known cure for parvovirus, but animals can be saved if they receive early treatment to address the symptoms, have a resilient immune system and are very, very lucky.
But treatments are expensive and have a very low success rate. The overwhelming result of infection is euthanasia.
If a dog contracts parvovirus it will take up to a week for the virus to develop. Then symptoms such as excessive lethargy, abdominal pain and lack of appetite start to become apparent, before the virus moves into the final rapid stages where vomiting and bloody diarrhea occur. By this point treatment is virtually ineffective.
But after these horrible descriptions of the virus, here’s the good news:
Parvovirus is preventable.
A C3 vaccine is available which provides protection for your pet and gives you peace of mind during the yearly outbreaks of parvo in the northern suburbs.
So, what to do to protect your pooch?
If you’ve got a puppy, get them vaccinated on schedule at 6-8, 10-12, and 14-16 weeks of age, and be wary of where you take your puppy until the vaccination program is complete and they are fully protected.
If you’ve got an older dog that either hasn’t been vaccinated or has missed a booster – get it done now!
Vaccination is the only protection against parvovirus.
At GVS we often talk about how prevention is better than a cure, but in the case of parvo it is the only option.
Call us, call another vet, just call a vet, and please, please make sure your dogs’ vaccinations are up to date.