What is Parvovirus?
Often more commonly referred to as “Parvo”, this is a highly contagious, often fatal, virus which affects dogs. The disease is spread between dogs by both direct or indirect contact, for example through contact of faeces. Those at most risk are the unvaccinated dogs and puppies, especially the very young and geriatric as their immunity levels are most vulnerable.
What are the symptoms of Parvovirus?
Symptoms will usually become evident 3-10 days post infection of the disease. The dog may show all or some of the following symptoms:
1. Lethargy and depression, not wanting to play or go for walks.
2. pyrexic ( high temperature).
4. Diarrhoea, will usually contain large amounts of blood and have a distinctive potent smell.
5. Dehydration and malnutrition of become obvious very quickly as the infected WILL NOT be able to keep food or water down.
6. Collapsed, will happen if action is not taken immediately as dehydration will cause the body to quickly shut down.
BE AWARE YOUR DOG WILL DETERIORATE RAPIDLY IF INFECTED WITH PARVOVIRUS AND ACTION IS NOT TAKEN IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU SUSPECT PARVOVIRUS IN YOUR DOG OR THEY BEGIN TO DISPLAY ANY OF THE ABOVE SYMPTOMS CONTACT YOUR VETERINARY SURGERY IMMEDIATELY.
How is Parvovirus treated?
Parvovirus cannot be treated as such, but your Veterinary Surgeon will provide supportive treatment for your dog.
1. Your dog will be admitted to the surgery for hospitalisation for the Nurses to care for.
2. Hospitalisation has to be intensive and in a separate isolation ward to prevent contamination.
3. The nursing provided is referred to as “barrier nursing”, as the nurse caring for your dog has to wear an apron, gloves and a mask and go through a rigorous hygiene procedure each time your dog is handled.
4. The dog will be administered intravenous fluid therapy, this is to replace the ongoing losses of vomit and diarrhoea and to rehydrate your dog. IV fluids can also help to bring down your dog’s temperature if this is the case and equally they will play a part in keeping your dog warm while they feel so poorly.
5. Heat lamps will be provided, again to maintain your dog’s temperature. Unless a high temperature is evident.
6. Supportive drugs will be prescribed by the Veterinary Surgeon, drugs such as gut protectors and anti vomiting drugs.
7. The Veterinary Surgery will send a faecal sample away to an outside laboratory to get a true diagnosis for parvovirus. Results will usually be back within 24 hours.
PLEASE NOTE – BE REASSURED THAT YOUR DOG WILL RECEIVE THE HIGHEST QUALITY OF CARE BUT PROGNOSIS WILL ALWAYS BE POOR IF YOUR DOG HAS PARVOVIRUS. DEATH RATES ARE HIGH.
THE ONLY WAY TO HELP PREVENT YOUR DOG FROM GETTING PARVOVIRUS IS TO HAVE YOUR PUPPY RECEIVE A COURSE OF VACCINATIONS AND THEN TO GIVE THEM ANNUAL BOOSTERS FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
IF YOU ALLOW YOUR DOG’S VACCINES TO LAPSE THEN THE CHANCES OF YOUR DOG BEING INFECTED WITH THIS DEADLY DISEASE ARE GREATLY INCREASED.
Unfortunately a lot of insurance companies will not help cover the cost of Veterinary bills relating to Parvovirus if the animal has not been vaccinated and although it is difficult to provide an exact idea of cost, it will probably be in the region of £ 800 +, and as earlier stated, the prognosis is extremely poor. However, the cost of your original vaccine course is £30.-00 with annual boosters costing £20-00 or Parvovirus only boosters costing £13-00.