Puppy Parvo Prevention Tips

Puppy parvo, short for parvovirus, is one of the most common and deadly diseases that affects young dogs throughout the world. This highly contagious and easily communicable disease will often kill young dogs with weakened and developing immune systems. Because the disease itself is not as potent against older pets, those who do survive become immune to it later on, and many older dogs that contract parvovirus will recover from it with the careful help of a veterinarian or caretaker. The best way to reduce the likelihood of a parvo scare for your pet is to work carefully with your veterinarian to prevent your dog from getting it in the first place. Read on for a few tips on how to best do this.

Vaccination Is Key

The best way to prevent puppy parvo is through a vaccination. These vaccinations are routinely given as part of the regimen of basic shots that puppies have. The parvo vaccination in particular is referred to as a "modified live virus" vaccination, as the shot that your puppy will receive contains live parvovirus that has been modified so as to not be able to effectively deal any damage to your puppy. These vaccinations are the single best means of prevention and are virtually indispensable for any dog, particularly those that live around other pets and dogs.

Booster Shots

Many pet owners make the mistake of giving their dog a parvovirus vaccination when he's a puppy and assuming that he'll be safe from the disease for the rest of his life. The initial vaccination that you give to your dog only prepares his body to produce antibodies for the parvovirus itself. If his body has not already produced antibodies, he'll still be susceptible to the disease. Because of this feature of the parvo vaccine, it's necessary to give your puppy a series of booster shots later on as well. If you miss out on these shots, the initial vaccine will be rendered useless and your pet will still be susceptible to parvo.

Vaccination Timing

When a puppy is born, he drinks his mother's first milk. This milk contains a load of helpful antibodies and other hormones that help your dog to fend off infection and diseases in the first few weeks of his life. While he's younger than about 2 or 3 months old, he will not be able to generally acquire puppy parvo because of this first milk (provided, of course, that he drank his mother's first milk in the first place). Because of the antibodies that are already in his system during that time, if he receives a vaccination for parvo or any other disease at that point in his life, he'll be unable to adequately process it and the vaccination will once again be rendered useless. Therefore, it's important that you wait until your puppy's body is able to properly accept the parvo vaccine before you administer the first round of shots to him. Your vet can help you to determine exactly when that is and at what point it's a good idea to begin your puppy's shot regimen.