Recently there has been media coverage regarding parvovirus infections in Guelph dogs. There is talk of the potential for an outbreak in the Guelph area given the higher number of unvaccinated animals we are seeing.
What is parvovirus, and why is it important to protect your pets from this easily preventable disease?
Parvovirus affects dogs by causing the destruction of the cells lining the intestine. Dogs infected with Parvovirus will have signs of vomiting, diarrhea (often with blood), lethargy and dehydration. Treatment can be intensive and involves hospitalization on intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Without this treatment the disease is often fatal. Unfortunately, even with treatment, many dogs will succumb to the disease with mortality rates reaching as high as 90%. This is why veterinarians consistently encourage dog owners to vaccinate for Parvovirus. Parvo is a high-risk disease which can be prevented with a readily available and very effective vaccine.
We recommend that puppies be vaccinated against Parvovirus at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age and that adult dogs receive a booster vaccination regularly. Parvovirus in vaccinated animals is rare to non-existent. Due to the efficacy of the vaccine, those dogs most at risk for Parvo infection are young unvaccinated puppies, unvaccinated adult dogs, immunocompromised dogs or those dogs that have not received all of their vaccines.
How could your dog contract Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is transmitted from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with infected feces. We tend to see a surge of Parvovirus cases in the spring as snow is melting, uncovering feces that were never picked up during the winter. The virus is extremely resilient and can survive for over a year in infected soils or feces.
The best way to protect your dog is to make sure they receive protective vaccinations regularly and keep them away from areas littered with dog feces. Pet owners can do their part by always picking up after their dogs whether out for a leash walk, at the dog park or walking through a wooded trail.
If you have any questions about Parvovirus, please don't hesitate to contact us at (519) 824-9898 or via email.