Canine Parvovirus (CPV), commonly known as Parvo, is a highly contagious viral infection affecting dogs more so young pups. Parvo is transmitted by direct or indirect contact with the fecal matter of an infected dog.
Humans can easily carry parvovirus on the soles of their shoes or any other contaminated surface. Since the virus has a high rate of survival, it could live on the said surfaces for months-long or up to a year, and your dog gets infected when it comes in contact with these surfaces.
What is Parvo in Dogs?
Parvo can be prevented by completing all the necessary vaccination regimes for your puppy. Regular and periodic vaccination should be followed as recommended by your veterinarian, but a 3-year periodic vaccination is considered appropriate for preventing Parvovirus infection in dogs.
Signs of CPV start to show 3 to 10 days after infection. Close attention should be paid to a dog that shows a sudden change is a behavior so that treatment in the case of Parvo can begin early enough. So, what are the signs that a dog owner should look for to detect Parvo?
Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs
Canine Parvovirus – Lethargy
Parvo is a gastrointestinal disease that causes inflammation in the small intestine of a dog, which affects the efficient absorption of nutrients that would be necessary to keep your dog strong and looking healthy.
This makes sudden dullness and fatigue the first signs of parvo in dogs. A lethargic dog is groggy and has no interest in things that would typically interest it. The dog might be slower in sensory response with an exhibition of excessive tiredness. This, together with a general out-of-character behavior, should point to a lethargic dog.
Keep in mind that lethargy may be more challenging to spot in older dogs that may have less energy than their younger counterparts or have several underlying health conditions. Any dog that would not get up for its favorite treats, toys, or food should be cause for alarm.
Canine Parvovirus – Bloody Diarrhea
Blood spotting in the dog’s stool should be another cause for concern. Since Parvo inflames the dog’s intestinal tract, smears of blood would be visible in its fecal matter. The frequent loose stool should show that your dog has diarrhea.
Canine Parvovirus – Vomiting
A dog experiencing nausea would generally be drooling or swallowing excessively before vomiting. Gastrointestinal upset or inflammation caused by Parvo could be what is causing your dog to vomit. Vomiting together with diarrhea will subsequently lead to dehydration. A dehydrated dog is likely to be panting a lot with sunken, dry eyes and nose.
Canine Parvovirus – Loss of appetite (anorexia) and weight
Loss of appetite means the dog eats less than usual, and this will ultimately lead to loss of weight. It would be out of character for any dog to refuse 2 or 3 consecutive meals. A dog that has lost appetite will frequently refuse to eat, including its favorite snack or eating less than usual. The inflamed intestine as a result of the Parvo infection will be the reason your dog is experiencing appetite loss.
Canine Parvovirus – Fever
A fever will be the first sign of a viral or bacterial infection in your dog, and if prolonged, it should be a cause for concern. A dog with a hot and dry nose and is shivering probably has a fever. The body temperature of the dog can be accurately determined by taking the dog’s rectal temperature. A temperature of over 103 F is considered to be a fever in dogs.
If you notice any of the above signs of parvovirus in your dog, you should take him or her to the vet clinic immediately. Experts believe Parvo has a 90% mortality rate if not detected early and treated. On the flip side, the mortality rate for dogs diagnosed early and put on a full cycle of treatment and therapy is between 20-25%.