The parvovirus is a disease that mainly affects puppies under six months. However, immunocompromised and unvaccinated adult dogs can be affected. The pathogen is the parvovirus. Virulent and extremely contagious, it causes in particular diarrhea, inappetence and intestinal bleeding. Veterinary care must begin as soon as the diagnosis is made, as this is a vital emergency. Your dog can die in 48 to 72 hours. Hospitalization and intensive monitoring are essential.
The parvovirus can affect all breeds of dogs without distinction. There are four strains: CPV-2a, CPV-2b, CPV-2c and CPV-2d. The latter is the most virulent but is rarely found in our regions. The incubation period is usually five days to seven days. The virus can survive for up to a year in the open air and is resistant to many disinfectants. Only chlorine can overcome it.
Its transmission is done by direct contact with stool, urine, vomit and saliva from other animals. Indirect contact with contaminated objects also participates in transmission. In the body, the infectious agent replicates in the oropharynx and spreads through the bloodstream. The lymph nodes and bone marrow are thus affected causing leukopenia (decrease in the number of white blood cells). At this stage, the animal falls prey to opportunistic bacteria. Canine parvovirus can also damage the myocardium. The risk of heart attack and pulmonary edema is increased.
The symptoms appear in two stages. First, the dog is lethargic, without appetite and feverish. Then come profuse diarrhea sometimes bloody as well as vomiting. Hemorrhagic diarrhea is the result of intestinal inflammation. The animal loses weight and becomes dehydrated quickly.
A blood test or a stool sample can make the diagnosis. The blood test will detect leukopenia, hypoalbuminemia and hypoglycemia (signs of undernutrition). Due to the weakened immune defenses, your dog is at major risk of bacterial infection.
As specified in the preamble, the assumption of responsibility must be immediate. There’s no time to lose. To save precious hours, if possible bring a stool sample to the vet during the first consultation. The sample will be sent to the analysis laboratory and the result will be known as soon as possible. There is no antiviral medicine for parvovirus. Thus, management involves intensive monitoring over several days. It consists of alleviating dehydration with the help of infusions.
The medical treatment consists of antiemetics to prevent vomiting. The infusions are also intended to restore the hydroelectrolytic balance (blood potassium, glycemia, proteinemia or calcemia). In more severe cases, the veterinarian may also use a plasma transfusion to restore oncotic pressure and clotting factors. To prevent any bacterial infection, antibiotic therapy is started.
She is seriously ill. Its death rate is very high. Even hospitalization started as soon as possible is not always enough to save the sick animal. Therefore, the prevention and the vaccination are the best ways to protect your pet. During the first six weeks of life, your puppy benefits from the immunity transmitted by its mother. Over time, it develops its own immunity. The maturity of the immune system varies from dog to dog.
Complete vaccination is obtained in three doses: at 6, 9 and 12 weeks. An additional dose is given in the 12th month. Then, a booster is done every two years. It is important to note that the vaccine is fully effective two weeks after the injection. The vaccine costs between 30 and 60 €. Some are linked to those of distemper and Rubarth’s hepatitis.
After an episode of parvovirus, the dog’s contagiousness is active for about six weeks. If you have more than one dog, it is strongly recommended that you vaccinate them and keep them away from the recovered dog. The latter must be placed in quarantine until his other companions are fully protected. Keep your puppy away from sick dogs and other animals. These can be healthy asymptomatic carriers. The hygiene of your dog’s living environment is also important. Regularly disinfect his living space with bleach.
For the good of your small dog, vaccinate him, especially if he comes from a shelter or a breeding. If your adult dog is not protected against this virus, watch out for the slightest symptom mentioned above. After the adoption, make a health visit to a veterinarian to check his general condition and detect any pathologies not disclosed by the seller. In such a case, you may be able to invoke the presence of crippling vices. If you notice a deterioration in your puppy’s health shortly after adoption, contact the breeder to find an arrangement. If he refuses to assume his responsibilities, you are allowed to take legal action under certain conditions.
French law lists six diseases that can be considered as crippling defects in dogs. Parvovirus is one of them. With the certificate of suspicion from the veterinarian, you can invoke a hidden or crippling defect in order to obtain redress or cancel the sale. The period of action in inhibition is 30 days. If the dog is deceased, the deadline is 15 days. The veterinarian’s certificate of suspicion must be drawn up within five days of acquiring the dog.
The parvovirus is a disease to be taken seriously. As soon as you notice a deterioration in the general condition of your puppy, consult a veterinarian without delay. The faster the treatment, the greater the chances of survival for your animal. You will hopefully save him a grueling ICU stay and a long recovery period.