Canine parvovirus, normally referred to as Parvo, is a highly infectious, potentially fatal disease of dogs. The majority of cases are seen in puppies and young dogs, but any age dog can contract this terrible disease.
Parvo is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog’s faeces. Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, arguably years, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract Parvo from the streets, especially in urban areas where there are many dogs.
The main symptoms associated with the infection include severe, bloody and foul smelling diarrhoea, lethargy anorexia, fever, vomiting, and severe weight loss.
Parvo can be diagnosed on a rapid test performed at the clinic. Treatment for Parvo may require intensive therapy. Most patients will need to be hospitalised in the isolation ward, placed on intravenous fluids, given specialised nutrition, antibiotics and anti-nausea drugs. Special gowns, gloves, footwear and other disposable items are used in their care. It may take several days before a patient shows improvement.
Some patients do not survive. Many pets are euthanised due to the cost of treating this disease.
It is, however, very easy to prevent Parvo. Vaccination is highly effective , and every dog should be vaccinated. All puppies should receive their full course of vaccinations, and adult dogs vaccinated at the recommended intervals throughout their life.