Over the last couple of weeks, local area veterinary clinics have seen several cases of parvovirus.
Parvovirus, also called “parvo”, is a highly contagious virus that affects dogs. It causes lethargy, fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea.
Treatment for parvo includes supportive care such as IV fluids, anti-nausea medication, and antibiotics. While antibiotics do not treat parvovirus, they help avoid secondary infections from taking advantage of the immune system while your dog is sick.
Parvovirus can be deadly, especially to very young dogs, dogs with weakened immune systems, and dogs who have never been vaccinated. Hospitalizing infected dogs for supportive care is the best option for this life threatening disease.
Parvovirus is preventable with vaccinations. Young puppies receive a series of 3-4 vaccines to make sure we get them protected as antibodies from their mother wear off. Once the puppy series is complete, dogs receive a booster yearly.
It is important to keep dogs who are not fully vaccinated out of the dog park. There is no way for you to know what the vaccine/health status of other dogs at the park is, which makes bringing an unvaccinated dog very risky. A dog infected with parvo can be shedding the disease in its feces before it shows signs of being ill, so just because a dog looks healthy today, doesn’t mean he won’t be feeling under the weather tomorrow.
Parvovirus is also a very resilient virus in that it can survive even the harsh winter conditions here in Marshall, MN as well as live on objects, clothing and shoes.
If your dog is showing any signs of parvovirus (lethargy, fever, vomiting, diarrhea) call your veterinarian right away. Be sure to tell them the symptoms your dog is having, and let them know if you’ve been to the dog park. The sooner parvovirus can be diagnosed and supportive care started the better the chance of survival.
If you are unsure if your dog is up to date on vaccines, please give your vet a call. For Evans Family Pet Care clients, you may log into your Pet Portal above as well.
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