What is Parvo?
Let me start out by first explaining what Parvovirus, or Parvo, really is. Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that is caused by the canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) virus. It is very common in puppies under 6 months and is easily transmissible to other dogs through feces and bodily fluids; but can also be passed through the objects that came into contact with the virus. Symptoms are shown after the incubation period, which is usually 4-6 days. This is lousy for puppies at the shelter because it makes it difficult for us to detect the signs of parvo early, before they get adopted (puppies get adopted fairly quick). It's a very unfortunate and rare case...but it does happen and when it does, it causes everyone a lot of heartache.
- Foul smelling diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Dehydration - this is usually what results in death if not treated quickly!
- Sudden death
Treatment & Prevention
If treated early and aggressively, many puppies can recover after weeks of treatment. It is extremely difficult to treat in a shelter because of the high risk rate of exposure and the stressful environment the dog is in. A veterinary hospital with the proper tools is required to provide supportive care. 85 - 90% of dogs can surpass this terrible disease if treated early, but the mortality rate is as high as 90% if not caught early or treated at all. In other words...PARVO SUCKS!
There is one saying that I abide by now and will continue to preach:
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This goes for SO many other illnesses and diseases that can be avoided for both cats and dogs through early prevention. For dog owners, the best thing you can do to prevent your dog from getting parvo is to make sure that they are up to date on all of their shots and vaccinations (especially distemper). As an Animal Care Specialist and future Veterinarian (positive thinking!), it is crucial to educate people about why prevention is SO important and how it can help avoid you some serious vet bills.
For example, a simple chewable monthly tablet of Heartguard can prevent a dog from contracting Heartworms; which is very common in warm weather. Heartworms in dogs is a slow killer and it generally takes over 3 months of serious treatment to get rid of. Not to mention that amount of money it takes! Prevention is key to a happy and healthy animal that will live a long fruitful life.
And now to end the post on a lighter note...meet Boosie [pronounced BOO-SEE]. This guy was definitely a favorite of mine at the shelter and I am so happy that he got adopted today! I took these pictures yesterday and was gonna write about him then, but of course I got writers block and sort of lazy. Today I was gonna write about him and BAM, he got adopted! He's a 2 year old Chocolate Lab/American Bulldog mix that is ridiculously loving and playful. I was prepared to take this guy home if he stayed at the shelter for too long! Here are some pictures of him enjoying the outdoors during my lunch break :)