Parvo Virus

Mar 05, 2019

In the past few months there has been quite a bit of publicity about parvo virus in our area. There have unfortunately been some cases of dogs and puppies testing positive for parvo virus in Pitt County. So, what is parvo and how can you protect your dogs?

Parvo virus is a virus that attacks the gastrointestinal system in dogs. In general, young, unvaccinated or immunocompromised dogs are the most at risk for infection. Parvo is a hearty virus and can live for up to a year in soil and for months on hard surfaces. Normal household cleaners do not kill parvo and homes should be disinfected with bleach if there has been a parvo positive dog in your home. Sunlight does kill the virus but if your yard is shaded your soil could remain infected.

It is always advised that puppies receive a full series of puppy vaccinations. Distemper/parvo combination vaccines are typically given by your vet at specific intervals to ensure that your puppy is full protected from the virus. Young puppies can carry antibodies from their mother up to varying ages. For this reason, it is important that puppies are vaccinated at 6, 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age to gain adequate protection against distemper and parvo viruses.

If your puppy is not yet fully vaccinated, it is recommended that you avoid places that may have been exposed to the virus—these include pet stores, dog parks, boarding facilities, groomers, etc.

Clinical signs of parvo virus include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and anorexia. If your dog or puppy is showing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. There is no cure for parvo so early intervention and aggressive supportive care gives your dog the best chance of survival. Of course, the safest option is to PREVENT parvo in the first place. Be sure your dogs of all ages, especially puppies, are fully vaccinated.


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