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Parvovirus 101
September 15, 2022
You may have heard about the parvovirus outbreak here in MI, as it’s been on the news quite a bit recently. Sadly, dozens of pups have already succumbed to this disease. Otsego County alone had over 20 reported deaths. Parvovirus is extremely dangerous, so it’s important for pet owners to be aware of the threat. A Saginaw, MI vet offers some insight on this virus below.


Parvovirus primarily affects Fido’s digestive system. It causes extreme weakness and dehydration and prevents dogs from absorbing crucial nutrients. It can be spread directly from pup to pup, but can also be contracted through secondary contact, such as by contaminated bowls, surfaces, and even people’s hands. The virus is very hardy, and can survive on surfaces for a long time, even in extreme cold or heat.


Signs of parvo include lethargy, fever, reduced appetite, vomiting, dehydration, weakness, and diarrhea, which may be bloody. If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your vet immediately. Don’t bring Fido into a clinic without alerting them that he may be infected.


There is some good news here: with early and aggressive treatments, many healthy dogs survive parvo. The risk of death is highest within 2 to 3 days after symptoms show, but early treatment is key. Unfortunately, no medication can cure parvovirus. Treatment options are generally aimed at keeping dogs strong and healthy long enough to recover. That means isolating Fido, keeping him warm, and gently nursing him back to health. You’ll also need to disinfect his living area and all his doggy belongings.


Parvovirus is extremely concerning, in large part because it’s so contagious. Puppies are particularly susceptible, because their immune systems aren’t fully developed. Of note: if a mama dog has been properly vaccinated, her immunity may only be partially passed along. This sounds like a good thing, but it can hinder the puppies’ response to the vaccine.


There is some good news here: simply keeping up with Fido’s vaccinations will greatly reduce the chances of him catching this dangerous disease. However, this isn’t a one-and-done solution. Your canine pal will need a series of vaccinations. Until you get the all-clear from your vet, do not take puppies to parks, daycares, or kennels. Also, don’t let your pooch sniff at other dogs’ feces. Is your pup due for vaccinations? Contact us, your Saginaw, MI animal clinic, today!
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