Puppies and Parvo
Finding out that your puppy has contracted Canine Parvo Virus is the worst news a pet owner can face. Puppies less than 4 months old and dogs that have not been vaccinated against the virus are at increased risk for infection. That is why we do not start puppy classes unless a puppy has had at least its second jabs against Parvo – usually around ten (10) weeks of age.
New-born puppies receive antibodies from their mother that help provide immunity, but this immunity wears off before the puppies’ immune systems are developed enough to destroy the virus and fight off infection.
When you bring your puppy home, your property will most likely be safe from this deadly disease as long as stray dogs have not been allowed to enter your yard.
We recommend that, until your puppy has at least had its second shots against Parvo, you keep him inside your property. Do not go show off your puppy to people but rather invite friends and family to come and see your new puppy at home. This also teaches a puppy that the people you allow onto your property are friends.
If for some reason you have to take him out or want to go for walks with him, do not allow him to sniff where adult dogs have eliminated. Rather pick him up and carry him past such places where Parvo Virus may be present. The virus is shed in the faeces of infected dogs and transmitted through mouth contact.
Pet stores, animal shelters and breeding kennels are places of increased risk. Overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions make it easier for the virus to spread. Certain breeds of dogs such as the English Springer Spaniels, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinchers are known to have a higher risk of developing severe disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Canine Parvo Virus
‘Parvo’ is a highly contagious disease that is mainly seen in puppies from weaning until six months of age. It is an acute illness, which means that symptoms develop suddenly, usually within 3 – 7 days of exposure. Canine Parvo virus often is fatal in puppies. Sometimes, puppies collapse and die without showing prior signs of infection that are as follows:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
Without immediate veterinary care puppies can die within 2 – 3 days. Untreated Parvo has a mortality rate of 91%. That’s why it is vital that your pet starts receiving treatment immediately after being diagnosed.
Puppies are normally given three (3) initial vaccinations at 3 – 4 week intervals starting at 6 weeks of age and are revaccinated once every year. Ligh