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Protect Your Dog from Parvo

Parvo is a very deadly and highly contagious canine disease!

Have you shot your dog today?

If not, your dog or puppy may be at risk for contracting a highly contagious life threatening diseases such as Parvo, distemper, dog influenza or rabies.  All of these illnesses are life threatening and need immediate veterinarian treatment.  Even with treatment, dogs that contract Parvo only have a 50/50% chance of survival.

Often when a puppy or an older dog contracts Parvo, it is unfortunately a death sentence.  If treated immediately, there is a good chance of a complete recovery.  They absolutely must be treated by a veterinarian in order to survive! They will need constant supervision, intravenous nutrients, hydration and lots of rest to get through it, which may take as long as two weeks under veterinarian care.

What is Parvo anyway?

Parvo is a virus that attacks the digestive tract of dogs and puppies. It is more common in puppies because of their undeveloped immune systems.  Parvo prevents the absorption of nutrients and liquids through the stomach lining.  Symptoms are characterized by extreme lethargy, vomiting and severe bloody foul smelling diarrhea that can be yellow in color.  They lose their appetites and don’t want to drink or eat.  They are listless, depressed, and suffer terribly.

How contagious is Parvo?

The scary thing is that there is quite a long incubation period for Parvo, which is what makes it so dangerous, because it is so highly contagious. It usually takes 5-12 days for symptoms to show up after initial exposure.  Meanwhile, your dog could be infecting other dogs and you don’t even know it.

Parvo is extremely contagious to unprotected dogs.  It is very easily transmitted from dog to dog through their feces or coming into contact with anything an infected dog has touched. An uninfected dog could just sniff a pile of feces from an infected dog and contract this deadly virus. It’s that simple and that contagious!

It is also a very hardy, tenacious disease that stays in the environment for long periods of time!  It can live through extreme temperature fluctuations and survive in an infected area for up to 9 months to 2 years.  Unfortunately, very few cleaning solutions can kill this virus, but a simple 1:3 ratio of bleach to water will do the trick.  There are also some antibacterial/ virus pet sterilizing solutions on the market that are used specifically for reducing and preventing such Parvo in an environment.

How can you prevent it and protect your dog?

All bedding, dishes, clothes, and anything that has been touched by an infected dog needs to be washed and sterilized with bleach. Cleaning up the infected environment is so important that when vets and vet techs come into contact with a Parvo infected dog, they have to strip off all their clothes and shoes, shower and change before they can come into contact with any other dogs, so that they won’t infect them.  That’s how contagious and difficult to eliminate from an environment Parvo is.

The best way to protect your dog or puppy from Parvo is to get them vaccinated.  Puppies need to be vaccinated correctly on a very precise schedule over a specific period of time in their first few months of life. Puppy booster shots help them to develop the antibodies they need to protect them from Parvo, as well as many other life threatening canine diseases.  Parvo shots for adult dogs are an annual vaccination, but some vets say it can be given every two years now.  Check with your local vet to find out what the current protocol is in your state.

If you think your dog or puppy has been infected with the Parvo virus, seek veterinarian attention immediately.  Symptoms are life threatening and will not go away without veterinarian assistance. Symptoms include- extreme lethargy, depression and no energy to do anything. They have uncontrollable foul smelling diarrhea that is yellow and brown in color. They will most likely be vomiting as well. They have absolutely no appetite for food or desire for water.  Typically that is how they die, of dehydration and starvation, because they are too miserable to eat or drink.

A dog infected with Parvo is suffering in the worst way possible. It is heartbreaking. The good news is that it is completely preventable with one tiny, inexpensive vaccination. So, if you have not shot your dog today, please go do it now.  You could save its life.

Deborah Brightstar 2010©

 

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