Certainly you have come across someone commenting about "parvo", a famous disease that can affect our dogs, causing bloody diarrhea among other different symptoms that confuse with different diseases. Who is this canine parvovirus: have you heard? How is it transmitted? How to avoid?
Parvovirus is popularly known as parvo, it is a serious disease, caused by a virus and that can lead to death. It can occur in all canids, especially dogs, being more common in puppies (less than a year old) because they are more fragile than an adult and more severe in puppies under 6 months of age, especially if they have worms intestinal as they decrease immunity.
The animal will have diarrhea that is usually accompanied by blood, vomiting, lack of appetite, prostration, fever, weight loss, among others. Parvovirus is very contagious, lives in the environment for a long time, resists cleaning with disinfectants, easily passes from one dog to the other, as the virus leaves the feces of the sick animal and can be inhaled or ingested by others.
The diagnosis is made through laboratory tests such as ELISA, detection of the virus in the feces, it can also be due to the animal's clinical condition, but this only suggests the disease, it does not confirm, as it can be confused with some other diseases. There is no specific treatment for parvovirus because it is a virus, only symptomatic treatment is done, so it is important to take your puppy to a veterinarian so that he can be treated as soon as possible.
How to prevent canine parvovirus infection? Prevention should be done by avoiding contact of sick animals with healthy ones, not placing them in a contaminated environment for at least 6 months and vaccination. Vaccination is the main way to avoid "parvo", it can be done in the mother before giving birth so that the immunity can be passed to the puppies through breastfeeding and in the puppies being given three doses and annual reinforcement, only in dogs Rottweiler is advisable to make four doses as this breed is more likely to catch the disease.
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Check out some more specific data regarding transmission, symptoms, disease development and treatment of canine parvovirus, and stay tuned for signs that your puppy may be showing.
Canine parvovirus transmission
As previously reported, the only way to prevent canine parvovirus is vaccination and dogs that did not receive the virus immunization are at risk of being contaminated in a simple contact with an infected animal. Being able to stay incubated for up to 15 days, the disease may not be detected during this period; although the dog already has the disease in its body and, therefore, can transmit the problem to other animals with whom it has direct contact.
The feces of contaminated animals are undoubtedly the main focus of transmission of the virus. However, people can also be responsible for the infection of other dogs, since people who have contact with the virus can carry it on their clothes and shoes, for example, contaminating pets that come into contact with these items.
Another form of transmission of the disease is through objects used by dogs infected with canine parvovirus. Therefore, it is important to remember that any item that has been from an infected animal (such as toys, drinking fountains, teethers, clothing and accessories) should not be used by other dogs and should be discarded.
This type of object should not be passed on to other animals even if it has been cleaned very well - since the virus of the disease is extremely resistant, and can remain on the object in question even after the use of potent disinfectants. To get an idea of how resistant the canine parvovirus virus is, even the environments in which the infected animals lived can be considered at risk for contamination, since the virus survives on the site for a long period of time until reaching two years after the withdrawal of the sick dog.
Symptoms of parvovirus
In addition to diarrhea with liquid stools, blood and a characteristic foul odor - considered as one of the most classic signs of the disease - vomiting, high fever and gastroenteritis (inflammation of the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestine) are also part of the set of symptoms of parvovirus. Leaving the animal very weak, the fevers caused by the disease can reach up to 41 ° C.
Dehydration, loss of appetite and deep apathy are also on the list of signs of the disease, which is fatal in about 80% of cases. Although they may be incubated for some time, the symptoms of parvovirus, when they start to manifest themselves in the animal, they can arrive so quickly and aggressively that they are capable of leading the dog to death in a matter of hours.
Therefore, it is clear the need, when noticing any signs that may indicate the disease, to take your pet to a veterinary clinic as soon as possible; since only the proper emergency care can increase the chances that your puppy will survive this terrible problem.
Treatment of canine parvovirus
THE treatment of parvovirus will be indicated according to the stage of the disease and the main symptoms presented by the animal. When the problem is diagnosed, the first step to be taken should be to isolate the dog from contact with other animals - preventing the virus from spreading further. As it is a viral disease, in this case we do not have a medicine that will act directly on the agent of the disease, so the treatment is stipulated with support and medications according to the symptom presented by the dog.
To relieve the dog's symptoms, fluid replacement is usually the first measure taken; followed by the administration of antibiotic and antiemetic medications (which decrease the level of nausea and vomiting in the animal, allowing the antibiotic to take effect). The hospitalization cases and the most intense treatment period lasts from 5 to 10 days, on average, and from that, a balanced diet must be part of the animal's life; and the intake of vitamins can also be recommended for the dog's appetite to return to normal.
However, the efficiency of the treatment and the recovery of the animal with parvovirus they will depend on your immune status and the level of evolution the disease was in when it started being treated and - as explained - most of the time, dogs do not even survive the first days of parvovirus.
Since the risk of life of the dog that is affected by this problem is extremely high, it is worth remembering, once again, that vaccination is the only concrete way to prevent the disease in animals. Therefore, it is essential that your puppy is taken to take the multipurpose vaccine from 30 days of age - guaranteeing its protection against parvovirus and another series of other contagious diseases such as distemper, coronavirus, canine infectious hepatitis, adenovirus and parainfluenza .
More about Parvovirus and related care
Parvovirus can also be known as Canine Parvoviral Enteritis, so if you hear that term out there know that it is the same disease covered in this text.
It is important to understand that Canine parvovirus it leads to the death of 80% of the dogs that contract the disease, mainly when the animal already presents some parasitosis or some other disease that debilitates, besides puppies, especially the purebred ones. Mortality is also considered higher in dogs that are already infected with some types of enteric bacteria, such as Salmonella spp., the Clostridium perfringens, among others.
- In older dogs, the disease can cause a decrease in temperature (hypothermia) in place of fever and in addition to the symptoms already mentioned Parvo can cause coughing and swelling in the eyes in some animals. Death in many circumstances occurs due to inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), especially in young dogs;
- Symptoms appear when Parvovirus, cause of Parvovirus, reaches the bloodstream and affects the intestine and bone marrow. In many situations the first symptom to appear is vomiting, and several owners postpone going to the vet, as this is a common symptom in various situations. This is exactly where a risk lives, do not postpone your puppy's visit to the vet if he starts showing signs that he is sick;
- Even if the pet is isolated from other animals and environments, it is important that the place where it is located is always clean and disinfected, even with the virus being resistant to these procedures. Generally the use of bleach is indicated for this procedure, in addition, the veterinarian can indicate specific products for the disinfection of the place;
- In cases where there are other animals in the house it is essential to change clothes and to clean up well before contacting the sick dog, thus creating yet another measure against proliferation of Parvovirus among pets, remember also that objects can transmit the virus and therefore healthy animals should not come into contact with objects from the infected animal;
- The vaccine against Parvovirus has its first dose applied 15 days after the puppy is weaned, that is, around 45 days of life. Always be aware of the dates of the vaccination, as it varies with the breed of the dog. In addition to Rottweilers, dogs of the Dobberman and Pitbull breed are more susceptible for reasons not yet determined;
- THE treatment against Parvo aims to support the infected dog so that it is able to generate its own response against the disease, in addition, the treatment confers temporary immunity against the virus;
- As there is no specific medication to fight the virus, in most cases your puppy will need to be hospitalized to be hydrated, receive electrolytes and nutrients, as well as medications that prevent the onset of other opportunistic diseases and that aggravate the condition during this period. period your dog does not receive food and only starts eating again after discharge from the veterinarian, following a special diet with adequate food for the animal's health condition;
- Do not believe in miraculous recipes or recommendations from friends and neighbors, always take your puppy to the vet at the first sign that he is sick, only a specialist is able to take care of the dog with parvo properly;
- If you have a puppy remember that his contact with other animals, going out on the street, bathing in a petshop, among other things, should be avoided until he has had all the necessary vaccinations;
- If an owner recently lost a dog victimized by Parvovirus the ideal is to wait a period of time to bring a new pet home, waiting not only for the animal to have some immunity of its own and the vaccines up to date, but also for the environment to become virus free. Always keep in mind that the Parvovirus virus is very resistant and the disinfection of the place is still a major obstacle.
Phases of Canine Parvovirus
As we saw the Canine Parvovirus is quite resistant and its action occurs mainly in the intestines of the dogs. Once the virus reaches that location in the body, it causes inflammation and destruction of intestinal cells. However, the disease does not only present in an enteric way, more common and with the consequences addressed here, it also occurs in a cardiac way, which is generally identified in the animal's autopsy and, often, kills without any apparent symptoms.
Know the stages of the disease:
- The infection
The transmission of the disease is fecal-oral and after the dog comes into contact with the virus in the feces, the virus infects the tonsils (tonsils) and lymph nodes in the pharynx region. After that first contact, the virus enters its viremic phase.
- Viremic phase
This phase occurs before the onset of gastroenteritis, right at the beginning of Parvovirus. At this first moment, the pet's immune system becomes very weak due to leukopenia (low immunity) - a decrease in white blood cells, responsible for the defense of the organism. An intense viremia occurs - presence of the virus in the bloodstream -, the dog's temperature starts to rise most of the time and several tissues start to be infected.
- Clinical phase
There is a massive elimination of viruses in the feces, in addition to the great viral replication in the infected organism. Parvovirus usually multiplies only in tissues in a phase of intense development, so very young dogs usually have the infection in the heart, but after five weeks of life the focus becomes the intestine. Replication is responsible for the destruction of intestinal cells and in some cases the villi. The duration of this phase is 10 to 14 days.
- Recovery phase
Symptoms start to disappear quickly between 5 and 10 days after their onset. There is a risk that a recovered dog will present in the future myocardial form of Parvovirus, in general due to the injuries caused in the first infection.
Myocardial form of Parvovirus
The myocardial form is less common and affects younger puppies, this is exactly due to the preference of the virus for tissues with accelerated development. Dogs less than five weeks old have strong cardiac development, while their intestines develop much more slowly. This picture is reversed after five weeks and that is why we hear so much about Parvovirus in enteric form.
That form of Parvovirus usually kills suddenly, often without the dog showing any clinical symptoms or presenting only a brief suffering that in a few minutes leads to death.
Dogs in adulthood who have had the enteric form of Parvovirus can become infected again and present the myocardial form, usually aggravating an old lesion from the initial infection. In addition, this injury to the heart muscle resulting from the first infection can lead the elderly dog to death due to complications due to the pet's age.
The diagnosis of myocarditis caused by Parvovirus it is usually only done after the dog's death, through necropsy.
How did the disease come about?
Canine Parvovirus was discovered in the United States in 1978, after which it quickly spread throughout the world and continues to infect and lead to the death of several dogs since then.
The origin of Parvovirus CPV-2 (Canine Parvovirus Virus) is quite uncertain, but there is a theory that it would be a mutation of the virus responsible for causing Feline Panleukopenia in cats. The symptoms and appearance of post-mortem tissue are very similar in Feline Panleukopenia and Canine Parvovirus.
Does Parvovirus affect humans?
The virus that causes Parvovirus does not usually target humans, except in cases where this virus combines with other types of viruses. Still, the disease does not affect humans the way it affects dogs, it is restricted to the upper respiratory tract and the eyes, causing flu-like symptoms. If someone in the family is ill, even if it is a simple cold, it is not appropriate for that person to handle the dog infected with Parvovirus.
We humans present a special type of Parvovirus, caused by another type of virus and that should not be confused with the Parvo Canina. This type of human Parvovirus is caused by Parvovirus B19, especially affecting children causing an infectious erythema. This form of Parvovirus is usually benign and without major complications for the person who has been infected.
Remember that Canine Parvovirus is caused by CPV-2 Parvovirus and Human Parvovirus is caused by Parvovirus B19, they are viruses of the same family, but they trigger very different symptoms in humans.
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