If you have just adopted a new puppy, or are soon to get one, parvo should be something that you familiarize yourself with. Parvo is an illness that affects dogs, most commonly puppies, and if not treated, it can become deadly. Here at SAGE Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care, we want all new puppy owners to know about parvo and to be on the lookout for it, as knowing this information can save a puppy’s life. Here is what every new puppy owner should know about parvo.
What Is Parvo?
Parvo is a disease of the gastrointestinal tract caused by the parvovirus. This disease is highly contagious. Puppies can catch it through direct contact with an infected dog or by touching something that an infected dog has come in direct contact with while sick, such as a food or water bowl. This disease can affect dogs of any age who are not properly vaccinated, but young puppies are most susceptible. Puppies are not fully protected until they have received their final vaccine booster at 16 weeks of age. Unfortunately some puppies and dogs can still be affected by this virus despite appropriate vaccination, says SAGE Dublin Emergency veterinarian Dr. Zuhal Elhan.
Signs of Parvo
There are many signs of parvo in a puppy. The most common signs associated with parvo are loss of appetite, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Other things to look for that may indicate your puppy is not feeling well include: lethargy (low energy), loss of appetite, or generalized weakness. If you have a puppy who just seems to be feeling under the weather and something isn’t right, you should get your puppy checked out. The sooner the condition is diagnosed, the better the outcome is for the puppy.
Treatment for Parvo
There is currently no known treatment for parvo. Once your pet has been diagnosed with the virus, they can start your pet on supportive care to help your puppy’s body fight the virus. Most puppies require hydration, antinausea medication and antibiotics to address the symptoms caused by the parvo virus.
What To Do If You Suspect Parvo
If your puppy shows any of the signs of parvo, or you suspect they may have it, it is important to get them to a vet as quickly as possible. Recovery is more likely when it is caught and treated early. Before you bring your puppy to a vet, call the vet and let them know what is going on and ask how you should proceed. Since the condition is so contagious, some may pull you into an exam room right away or ask you to avoid the waiting room so other dogs aren’t exposed.
If you are concerned that your puppy is sick and may be affected with parvo, please contact SAGE or your primary care veterinarian with questions on how to proceed.