Parvovirus in Dogs

Parvovirus (Parvoviral Enteritis or “Parvo,” for short) is a virus causing severe infection in puppies and dogs that we see fairly commonly here in the Licking County and Granville area.

Parvo invades and destroys rapidly growing cells in the intestine, bone marrow and lymphoid tissue resulting in nausea, vomiting and severe hemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea. The invasion of the bone marrow cells causes a decrease in the white blood cell count leading to increased susceptibility to bacterial infections and sometimes to a shock-like condition called endotoxemia. The disease can vary from mild to fatal if not properly treated.

Parvovirus is extremely contagious to other dogs. Infection is generally attributed to ingestion of material contaminated by dog feces and can occur when a dog smells or licks the ground. Direct contact with another dog is not necessary for infection. Parvovirus is shed in the feces of infected dogs for approximately two weeks after initial ingestion and can live in the environment for years. The virus is species specific and is not contagious to cat or humans.

It is most common in dogs and puppies that have not yet completed their vaccine series. Common signs are lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), lethargy and weakness.

If you suspect your dog or puppy has Parvovirus, please call us as soon as possible 740-587-1129. Once you have an appointment, we will likely ask you to call us from the car when you arrive. This will allow us to plan a strategy to minimize the risk of infection to other dogs.

 

Diagnosis of Parvovirus

We diagnose parvovirus based on a special fecal “Parvo” test. We may also want to check a complete blood count and a different type of fecal test to check for and will concurrent parasites.

Treatment of Parvovirus

Treatment involves fluid therapy for hydration, antibiotics to treat secondary infections, drugs to control vomiting, and dewormer medications if needed. Some dogs will require hospitalization with Intravenous (IV fluids) and others may respond to outpatient treatments of fluids, antibiotics and anti-vomiting medications.

Prognosis

Dogs can survive and live a normal life after treatment with Parvovirus. The survival rate may vary but can be 85% with aggressive treatment.

Prevention

Ensuring your dog receives the correct series vaccines that include Parvovirus can prevent Parvo.

If you have questions or concerns about your dog, please call us at 740-587-1129.