Ca­nine Par­vovirus

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - NEWS - Freya Wil­liams VET­ERI­NAR­IAN

MANY of you may have heard of par­vovirus in dogs, it is a highly con­ta­gious virus which can be fa­tal. Young pup­pies and un­vac­ci­nated dogs are most sus­cep­ti­ble which makes it in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to en­sure your pet is kept up to date with vac­ci­na­tions.

How is par­vovirus spread?

The virus is shed in fae­ces and vomit, and is picked up by come into con­tact with con­tam­i­nated ma­te­rial. It is a very hardy virus and can sur­vive years in the en­vi­ron­ment. Dogs usu­ally be­gin to show symp­toms five to seven days af­ter in­fec­tion. In­fected dogs be­gin shed­ding virus even be­fore they show signs of ill­ness and may con­tinue shed­ding for up to 30 days.

What are the clin­i­cal signs?

Once the virus en­ters a dog it spreads to many tis­sues and repli­cates. Clin­i­cal signs of par­vovirus in­fec­tion in­clude lethargy, in­ap­petance and fever, fol­lowed by vom­it­ing and bloody di­ar­rhoea. Some dogs may have such rapid on­set of ill­ness that they die sud­denly with­out show­ing many symp­toms.

What is the treat­ment?

A di­ag­no­sis of par­vovirus is con­firmed with a fae­cal test. Treat­ment of par­vovirus in­fec­tion in­volves hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion with IV flu­ids, an­tibi­otics, pain re­lief and in­ten­sive sup­port­ive care so that the in­testines can heal. With­out treat­ment more than 90 per cent of in­fected dogs will die. With early, ag­gres­sive treat­ment sur­vival rates can be over 80 per cent. Dogs that have been treated for par­vovirus should be iso­lated for 30 days from other dogs as they may still be shed­ding the virus. Af­ter this time pe­riod, all ar­eas they have had ac­cess to should be de­con­tam­i­nated.

How is par­vovirus pre­vented?

Par­vovirus is eas­ily pre­vented by vac­ci­na­tion. Pup­pies should be vac­ci­nated at six to eight weeks, 1012 weeks and 14-16 weeks of age. Booster vac­ci­na­tions (yearly or three year vac­cines) are re­quired to keep im­mune lev­els high. Vac­ci­nated dogs may be­come in­fected with the virus, how­ever they gen­er­ally show very mild or no symp­toms at all. Pup­pies that have not had their fi­nal vac­ci­na­tions should be kept away from ar­eas that are pos­si­bly con­tam­i­nated and so­cialised in safe en­vi­ron­ments with vac­ci­nated dogs.

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