Canine Parvovirus Vaccine Effectiveness Examined

The parvovirus vaccine is formulated to combat the infectious parvovirus disease that largely affects puppies and certain breeds such as Rottweilers and Labrador Retrievers. The parvovirus infection spreads easily when dogs come in contact with contaminated feces. Since the virus can thrive in certain environments, pets can contract the virus by directly or indirectly coming in contact with contaminated surfaces such as food and water bowls, pet bedding and toys.

Pets that are infected with the acute form of the virus may die within 48 hours of contracting the virus. However, the spread of this virus can be contained with the administration of aggressive vaccination protocols. Pet owners should thus stay informed about the vaccines available and work with the vet to determine the right protocol for individual pets.

Some Symptoms of Parvovirus Include:

Protecting Your Pet

Since most pets succumb to the disease, it’s important to take precautionary measures to prevent the dog from contracting the disease. The Parvovirus vaccine is available as a modified live vaccine or a killed vaccine. Modified live vaccines are most commonly used vaccines because they are more effective. However they can’t be used on pets that suffer from immunosuppressive diseases. Killed vaccines, on the other hand, contain stabilizers that reduce the overall effectiveness of the vaccine but are ideal for pets with compromised immune systems. Dogs that are administered the killed form of the vaccine also require several follow up shots.

Effectiveness of the Vaccine

Regardless of the type of vaccine administered, the effectiveness of the vaccine depends on the pet’s response to the shot. Generally puppies receive their first parvovirus vaccination at 6 weeks of age. The vaccine is then repeatedly administered every 3 weeks until the puppy is 20 weeks old.

The reason the vaccine can develop into a full blow viral infection, or can fail to be effective, is because of the antibodies present in the mother’s milk. These antibodies counteract the effectiveness of the vaccine and protect the pet from contracting the disease from the vaccine. However the pet remains susceptible to the infection from external contaminated sources. Conversely, the maternal antibodies could be so low that they don’t provide sufficient protection to the pet when the vaccine is administered and this in turn leads to an active parvovirus infection.

After several clinical trials and studies, it has been established that it’s best to test the pet’s blood for titers to determine how well the puppy has been immunized. Although modified live vaccines provide best protection, all dogs are at certain risk of contracting the disease due to the interference of maternal antibodies.

Prevention of Parvo

Since the immune system functioning of each pet differs, pet owners need to work with the vet to identify the best vaccination protocol for individual puppies. Care takers should also take other precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of the virus. The pet’s surroundings should be cleaned and bleached regularly and all bedding should be washed and disinfected. Pet feces, in particular has to be disposed off in an appropriate manner.

It’s important to make note of the symptoms of the parvovirus infection and seek prompt medical care if the pet exhibits any symptoms.