Canine Parvovirus has spread across many Indian states now. It has already affected many dogs & pet-parents across India are worried about the well-being of their dogs. Our vets have been answering a lot of queries on Wiggles Tribe on Facebook. Here are a few commonly asked questions that our vets have answered in this blog.
What is canine parvovirus?
The “Canine parvovirus” or “parvo” is one of the most common & deadly diseases among dogs. It is a viral disease caused by the parvovirus, a DNA virus, which affects the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and the intestine) of puppies and adolescent dogs. Since it is a viral disease, there is no specific treatment as it keeps adapting & evolving (just like the COVID-19 virus).
What are the signs/symptoms of parvovirus?
The virus will affect the dog after three to seven day after coming in contact. Starting with the most common symptom of lethargy and inappetence, followed by high fever, diarrhea with a foul smell, vomit, and dehydration. In acute cases, dogs show the symptoms of bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
There are two forms of parvovirus:
Intestinal: The dog loses the ability to absorb the nutrient and hence exhibiting the above-mentioned symptoms with tachycardia (rapid heart rate). This is the most common form of CPV observed in dogs.
Cardiac: The cardiac form is rarely observed in dogs but majorly in puppies. The virus affects the heart muscle of dogs causing difficulty in breathing due to the collection of fluid in the pulmonary system resulting in the sudden death of a puppy or after a very short period of time.
How do dogs get infected with parvovirus?
As canine parvovirus is contagious, there are two main sources of its spread of infection:
Direct Contact: If a healthy unvaccinated dog comes in direct contact with an infected dog or their stool, then such contact or spread of infection is considered a direct one.
Indirect Contact: Indirect contact of parvovirus includes contact of dogs nose or mouth/tongue with contaminated dog fur, human skin, and surface area in the environment.
An infected dog shed the virus in the environment for almost 10 days even after recovery. Therefore, the chances of indirect contamination are more because of their constant urge to explore and lick things.
Do humans also get infected with Parvo?
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is species-specific and humans have their own developed strains for gastrointestinal infection similar to canine parvovirus. Hence, CPV does not spread to humans from dogs.
Diagnosis of Parvovirus -
Diagnosis tests include fecal examination through fecal ELISA test. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is conducted to detect the DNA of canine parvovirus. A simple blood test is also performed to get the idea of the total blood cell count. A low white blood cell count is indicative of CPV infection.
Treatment of Parvo -
Since it's a viral disease, there is no specific treatment. However, supportive treatment if started immediately helps reduce the mortality rate. The treatment aspect varies depending upon the severity of the parvo infection.
- An intravenous drip is suggested to balance the electrolyte loss caused by diarrhea and vomiting
- The hemorrhagic/bloody diarrhea can be treated with hemostatic injection and in severe cases with plasma transfusion or whole blood transfer to correct the anemia.
Antiemetic drugs are used to stop the vomiting of dogs. Along with it, broad-spectrum antibiotics are given to treat bacterial infections to stop sepsis in dogs.
Preventive measures for Parvovirus -
Regular and prompt vaccination is the best preventive measure for canine parvovirus. Following the vaccination protocol along with the deworming schedule will work synergistically to prevent the disease.
Avoid taking your dog out. Also avoid contact with other dogs for almost 2 weeks after vaccination. This will help in prevention, till the dogs develop their immunity.
Cleaning and disinfecting the dog’s toys with dog-friendly disinfectant, using a pet sanitizer and immunity booster to develop the immunity in dogs will be helpful to stop the spread of infection in healthy dogs. An emergency kit will also come in handy in a situation like this.
If you happen to observe any symptoms, immediately rush to your vet. Because when it comes to Parvovirus, prevention is indeed better than cure. If you need vet related assistance, please call us on +918431620000.