Throughout central New Jersey, a viral outbreak has started to
grow, taking the lives of many families’ furry friends. While the
outbreak is contained to the central Jersey area for the time
being, due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, it could
potentially become a full-blown epidemic.The virus, more
commonly known as the
parvovirus, is only spread through
direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected dog. So,
while it is not an airborne contagion, given our dogs’ “lick
first, ask questions later” mentality, it is still considered
highly contagious.Parvo is a condition that causes those infected
to vomit and suffer from diarrhea
, there is no shortage of contaminated fluids to spread
around. Also, due to the viscous nature of an infected dog’s
eliminations, cleaning up after is nearly impossible. This leads
to a higher rate of sick dog messes lying around, and an increase
in the odds that your dog comes into contact with one of the
aforementioned contagions.Places like dog parks, hiking trails,
or any other known area where dogs are allowed to roam free,
should be traversed with caution as these are the places where a
dog is likely to encounter the disease. For safety purposes, it
is recommended that you limit your dog’s exposure to highly
trafficked areas or any unknown dogs.
It is also advised that you familiarize yourself with the
symptoms of parvo. Be on the
- Extreme diarrhea
- Blood in stool
- Loss of appetite
- Intestinal pain
If you think your dog may have parvo, take a stool sample to the
vet so they can have it analyzed.And, if you haven’t done it
already, make sure to get your dog vaccinated for this contagious
and life-threatening disease.Source:ABC News -
Officials Warn Virus Could Sicken, Kill
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Parvo in Dogs
What is Parvo?
Short for Parvovirus, Parvo is a
dangerous, highly contagious virus. The virus has a fast and
deleterious effect on a dog’s bodily function, especially their
intestinal tract and immune system. The effects -- initially
involving diarrhea and vomit --
will be unpleasant for everyone. If left untreated, the disease
is often fatal. However, with proper care and veterinary
attention, most dogs will recover well. Humans are not known to
be affected by the virus.
How is Parvo Contracted?
Parvo can be passed from dog to dog through mouth or nose contact
during play. At its highest concentration, the virus is found in
dogs’ stool. For this reason, the virus can also be contracted
through contamination of surfaces and other objects. If infected
feces are spread around on the bottom of human shoes, or on the
bottom of animals’ feet, one dog can transmit Parvo to another
dog without even being in the same room at the same time. If your
dog eats feces, also known as coprophagia, they are also at risk
of contracting parvo, so talk to a vet about coprophagia dog
How to Prevent Parvo
The best and only prevention for Parvovirus is vaccination. Parvo
vaccinations should be part of a dog’s regular cycle of
inoculation. Most veterinarians offer a standard and popular
5-in-1 vaccination -- a
single shot to vaccinate your pet for 5 diseases -- and parvo is
included. To be sure, ask your vet, or check your dog’s
vaccination records. Parvovirus is represented by a single “P” in
the name of the vaccinations your dog has received.
What Causes Parvovirus?
Where or how Parvovirus originated is unknown, though it showed
up as early as the 1970s. It is considered to be one of many
mutations of previously existing strains of similar viruses.
Who Can Get Parvo?
For unknown reasons, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Springer
Spaniels are at greater risk to contract Parvo. These
and all dogs can and should be vaccinated early and regularly.
Parvo is most commonly found in puppies. Left untreated, Parvo
can have long term effects on your growing dog. Jenna Stregowski,
RVT, says, “A puppy with severe diarrhea will usually be
suspected of parvo until proven otherwise. The final diagnosis is
usually made after a lab test -- called an ELISA test -- confirms
the presence of parvovirus antibodies.”
If your dog is not vaccinated against Parvovirus, and they
suddenly exhibit signs of an unhappy stomach,
including vomiting and diarrhea, take them to the vet
immediately. Other signs may include lethargy and loss of
appetite; bloody, and especially unforgettably stinky poop are
also indications that Parvo might be present.
If your dog is vaccinated, it’s unlikely that what you’re dealing
with is Parvo, unless they have other autoimmune complications
that could make them susceptible.
How is Parvo Treated?
Parvo is a serious disease that often requires several overnight
stays at the vet. Due to the vomiting and diarrhea associated
with the disease, your dog will likely be dehydrated. The vet
might want to administer fluids intravenously. Other medications
will also likely be administered intravenously, in conjunction
with antibiotics. If caught and treated early, your dog has an
excellent chance of full recovery.
It’s important to remember that Parvo is a hardy virus. Only
bleach will kill the virus from surfaces in your home. The
recommended ratio of bleach to water is 1:32. Let the solution
sit on infected surfaces for 20 minutes or more. Discard beds and
toys that might be infected. Stregowski cautions, “Parvovirus
particles can live in the soil or other outdoor environments for
5 months or longer.” With Parvo, you’ll want to start from
scratch wherever possible.
More on Disease Prevention
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This information is for informational
purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the
professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your
veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been
verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.