Canine Parvovirus – (part of DAPP vaccine)

Most common cause of severe diarrhea and vomiting in young, unvaccinated puppies, but can affect dogs of any age. It is spread in feces of infected animals, is very resistant to many disinfectants, and is very contagious. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells, causing damage to the absorptive border of the small intestines and inhibiting the body’s ability to hold onto nutrients and electrolytes. After being infected, it can take 4-14 days before the dog shows signs of sickness, and these may range from mild lethargy and loss of appetite to severe, debilitating vomiting and bloody diarrhea. A low white blood cell count, anemia (low red blood cell count), and loss of protein can occur as a result of the infection and can make the pet very sick. There is no specific treatment, but without supportive care including antibiotics, fluids/electrolytes, and medications to treat nausea and diarrhea the virus can become life-threatening. While hospitalization is often recommended, especially in very sick pets, it may be possible to treat more mild cases with out-patient medications and injections. After recovery, the virus will still be shed in the feces for up to 1 month, and the environment must be disinfected with a diluted bleach solution. It is not recommended to have any new puppies in the environment for up to 6-12 months since some areas (such as the yard) may not be able to be properly disinfected. The best prevention is vaccination by a veterinarian beginning at 6 weeks and repeated every 3-4 weeks until 20 weeks of age, then every 1-3 years as an adult. Even if your pet was infected with Parvovirus, they are not immune and should be regularly vaccinated.