Preventing Parvo in Puppies

Preventing parvo in puppies is an ongoing but necessary step for dog owners. Parvo is a serious and deadly disease that affects all breeds of dogs. Studies show that black and tan breeds such as rottweilers and doberman pinchers are more susceptible to the parvo virus.

Parvo Virus

Parvo is the most common viral disease in puppies because of their immature immune system. The virus attacks the lining of the digestive system where it grows in rapidly dividing cells eventually killing the cells. This action prevents your puppy from absorbing liquids and nutrients causing him to get dehydrated and weak. Parvo disease is carried by infected dogs and shed in their feces. The virus can live as long as nine months in an environment. Not only does the virus live in the environment but the parvo virus can be brought home to your puppy by your shoes, hands, or car tires. This virus can not be transmitted to other species.

Symptoms of Parvo

You may see symptoms of parvo in your puppy as early as 7 to 10 days after exposure. Parvo test can be done this early to check to see if you puppy is positive with the virus. Your puppy will first experience a high fever, followed by depression and loss of appetite. Vomiting and bloody diarrhea will be present. Because of these symptoms dehydration will affect your puppy and in many cases death will follow. Parvo can attack the heart and cause conjunctive heart failure months after an apparent recovery. If your puppy survives the parvo virus he will most likely be weak and unhealthy for life.

Treatment of Parvo

With proper veterinary treatment, your puppy has a better can of survival from the parvo virus. By preventing dehydration, they will start him on IV or Subcutaneous fluids. Since there is no cure for Parvo, the veterinarian can only treat symptoms as they occur. Other procedures that may be done include controlling body temperature, monitor electrolyte levels, and blood transfusions if necessary. Studies show that sulfa drugs can cause dehydration and should be avoided in treating parvo in your puppy.

Preventing Parvo with Dog Vaccinations

These steps can be taken to prevent your puppy from developing the parvo virus.

The best way to prevent your puppy from getting parvo is to have him vaccinated against parvo. The parvo vaccine is given as early as 6 weeks and is given every 3 to 4 weeks until your puppy is 16 to 20 weeks old. Yearly vaccines should be given to ensure continual protection against the virus. For your convenience, veterinarian offices use a canine vaccine called DHPP that protects your puppy from distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and parainfluenza. This is a core vaccine and should be given annually to protect your dog from these common diseases. The canine rabies vaccine is also a core vaccine and should be given to your puppy at 16 weeks of age.

  • Keep your puppy isolated from other dogs until 2 weeks after his last parvo vaccine.
  • Disinfect any food bowls, water bowls, bedding, crates, or kennels with a 1:30 ratio of chlorine bleach and water solution.
  • Clean up any of your puppies stool in the backyard or in the environment.
  • After your puppy recovers from parvo, keep him isolated for 1 month after full recovery.