What Is Parvovirus, and Why Is It Important to Vaccinate?

October 18, 2019 8:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you own a dog, you’ve probably heard about parvovirus, a potentially deadly virus that attacks canines. Humans and birds have also been diagnosed with parvo. Puppies of all breeds, as well as adult Rottweilers and Dobermans, are especially susceptible to the virus. Since the 1970s, parvo has killed thousands of dogs. Luckily, there’s a vaccine available to help protect your puppy. Getting parvo shots for dogs in Phoenix, AZ is an effective (although not foolproof) way to keep them healthy and happy.

Signs of parvo

Parvo attacks the intestinal lining, causing it to die and slough off. This can prevent as vomiting, dehydration and bloody diarrhea—if you see your dog suffering, get help immediately. The virus can spread into the bone marrow, lymph nodes and bloodstream, attacking the white blood cells. Other symptoms include extreme lethargy or depression, bloated or tender abdomen, red gums and/or eyeballs, rapid heartbeat and hypothermia. These signs can be so subtle that sometimes owners don’t realize their pets are sick for weeks.

If your dog is sick with parvo, veterinarians will isolate your dog and treat them with intravenous fluids and antibiotics. There is no cure for parvo, but these treatments help stabilize your dog’s health so that their immune system can start fighting the disease. Puppies and small dogs are at the most critical risk, since they have less body fluid they can afford to lose.

How to prevent parvo

Infection happens when a dog inhales or ingests the virus, which is present in dog feces. The dog virus can be carried on virtually limitless surfaces, including shoes, wind, water and tires, as well as by insects and rodents. The virus is everywhere—it’s likely that every dog in the world has been exposed to parvo or will be at some point in their lives.

The parvovirus vaccine is the best way to defend your dog against parvo. It’s not 100 percent effective (no vaccine is), but it will significantly increase your dog’s immune system and ability to fight off the disease. Even if the vaccine isn’t completely effective with your individual puppy, it will still reduce the impact of the sickness. Your dog will have an easier time fighting off the disease.

To reduce your dog’s exposure to parvo, avoid taking them to heavily-trafficked dog parks and other canine-friendly places until you’ve vaccinated your puppy. Although some people are under the impression that adult dogs can’t get parvo, that is a misconception, as is the belief that keeping your dog in a sterile environment will protect them. Unfortunately, parvovirus is omnipresent and is a serious danger to any dog.

Ultimately, parvo shots for dogs are your best bet to keep your dog healthy in Phoenix, AZ.

Get your dog vaccinations in Phoenix, AZ

Call Christown Animal Hospital today and update your dog vaccinations in Phoenix, AZ. Prevention is more effective and less expensive than treatment options, so take this proactive approach and preserve your best friend’s health. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.

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