Canine Parvovirus, is a viral disease that attacks dogs and if
left untreated, it kills them within day's, usually due to
dehydration and it's side effects.
Parvo is caused by a virus present in the feces of infected
dogs. Other dogs and pups pick up the parvo virus through eating
food off the ground, chewing bones on the dirt, licking each
other... there is so much parvo virus in the environment that
older dogs have become somewhat immune to it, however puppies are
very susceptible, especially from around weaning age at 5 to 8
Parvo symptoms include severe depression and a loss of
appetite, followed by a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea and
The infected dog will pass bloody stools within 24 hours.
Puppies infected with parvo usually die within 48 hours if left
The virus initially lodges and multiplys in the lymph nodes of
the throat and in 3 or 4 days it spreads to the bone marrow and
the gastro-intestinal tract. All three sites contain the rapidly
multiplying cells that the virus needs. In the bone marrow it
kills the young immune system cells, and as such a low white cell
count is the first clinical sign of possible parvo virus
infection. Having a low white cell count also means that the host
dog cannot fight the infection.
While this is happening the parvo virus is attacking the
gastro intestinal tract, killing new cells of the intestine walls
before they have a chance to grow. This results in an inability
to absorb nutrients, causing acute diarrhea. The intestinal wall
becomes so damaged that bleeding occurs, allowing bacterial
infections to take hold.
Therefore puppies can die from either severe dehydration and
shock, bacterial infection... or more commonly, both.
You can't treat parvo with antibiotics, however, they are
routinely given to prevent secondary bacterial infections setting
in, while the dog's immune system is actively fighting the
The best treatment for parvo is prevention. And the best form
of prevention is Vaccinating, which should be mandatory for all
puppies before they are 3 months old. Follow up every 12 months
with a booster shot.
You should vaccinate pregnant broody's with a killed
parvovirus vaccine, either before mating, or 2 weeks before her
puppies are born. This will pass on protection to the puppies
until they are about 6 weeks old, or until they stop suckling.
The danger period for puppies is between weaning at 5 to 8 weeks
old, and 3 months of age, when they should get their full
On dog farms and in breeding barns, it's advisable to give
puppies a 4 in 1 shot that includes parvovirus and corona virus
vaccines at about 7 weeks, followed by their full 5 in 1 shot
which includes Leptovirus vaccine at 3 months of age.
The only way to kill parvo in the environment is with either
Bleach diluted 30 to 1 with water, or some other proprietary
brand containing bleach. If the infected area is left dormant,
the parvo will die in the ground in around 7 months, but you
would be well advised to leave them vacant for 1 to 2 years.
Freezing protects parvovirus cells, so if the ground is snowbound
in winter, it may be at least 2 years before it is safe to allow
puppies on it again.
Russell Savige has been breeding and rearing greyhounds since
1986. His website http://www.training-dog-breeds.com
has an extensive collection of dog related pet ebooks tips articles from the
pet information channel.
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