Parvovirus, informally known as parvo, is an extremely contagious viral disease that was discovered in the late 1970s. Parvo is known as a puppy disease because it typically only occurs in puppies that are younger than six months. While adults may contract the disease, they usually do not display any serious symptoms.
Today, this virus is one of the most common serious medical conditions that can affect puppies. Any breed of puppy can be vulnerable to the virus, and those that are infested with intestinal parasites are especially vulnerable. Since parvo in puppies is most often fatal, it is essential for you to understand the disease.
Symptoms of Parvo in Puppies
Parvo can infect the intestines, the heart or both. As such, the symptoms of parvo in puppies depends on what part of the body is affected and the severity of each animal’s condition. Nevertheless, there are some symptoms of parvo in puppies that are common to most cases, and they are as follows:
- Severe Bloody Diarrhea
- Extreme Lethargy
- Generalized Weakness
- Refusal to Eat or Drink
- Severe Weight Loss
- Heart Failure
- Shock and Death
Typical Treatments for Parvo in Puppies
Unfortunately, there are no cures for parvo. Treatment is geared towards reducing or curing the symptoms and preventing any possible secondary bacterial infections. Since many puppies can die within just 12 hours after contracting the virus, it is essential that you seek treatment immediately.
Treatment for parvo in puppies involves hospitalization and intensive therapy. IV fluids will be administered to correct dehydration and electrolyte levels. Antiemetics and H2 Blockers can reduce nausea and vomiting. Other common treatments often include antibiotics, anthelmintics and nutrition therapy.
Prognosis of Parvo in Puppies
This disease is extremely severe in puppies that have not had all of their vaccinations yet and/or are no longer protected by their mother’s antibodies. However, their prognosis depends on several factors including their age, size, whether or not they have been treated for the disease and whether or not they have any other medical issues.
Typically, the mortality rate for puppies that have not received any treatment for the virus is about 91 percent. This is true despite the puppies’ sizes or ages. The death rate for large-breed puppies that receive treatment and do not have any other health problems is about five to 20 percent.
On the other hand, the mortality rate for small-breed puppies that receive treatment and do not have any other medical problems is around 50 to 80 percent. Finally, the rate of death for puppies of any size that have received treatment but have various other health issues is approximately 50 to 80 percent.
Parvo in puppies is an extremely serious issue that often results in death. Of course, the best way to prevent this disease is to make sure that your puppy is current on all of its vaccinations. Nevertheless, if your pup does happen to contract it, you can increase its chance of surviving by seeking treatment right away.