Parvovirus is a highly contagious, potentially deadly virus that affects dogs, particularly young puppies. It’s spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, faeces, or vomit, and can spread quickly through a multi-dog household if it takes hold. If you have dogs at home, it’s important to understand what parvovirus is, including the signs to look out for and the steps you can take to protect your household from an outbreak.
What are the Symptoms of Parvovirus?
When it comes to understanding parvovirus in dogs, knowing the main symptoms to look out for is the most important thing. Parvovirus can cause a range of symptoms including:
- Vomiting: Dogs may experience repeated episodes of vomiting with parvovirus.
- Diarrhoea: This is often one of the first symptoms. It may be severe and bloody.
- Lethargy: Dogs who have been infected with this virus may have a significantly reduced energy level and appear very fatigued.
- Loss of appetite: Dog with parvovirus may stop eating and drinking, and become dehydrated.
- Fever: As the body fights off the virus, your dog may develop a fever.
- Abdominal pain: A dog may show signs of pain or discomfort in the abdomen.
Getting your dogs vaccinated against parvovirus is the most effective way to prevent an outbreak. Puppies should receive their first parvovirus vaccine at 6-8 weeks or age, and boosters afterwards. Your vet will be able to give you some more information on when your puppy should be vaccinated. If you have an unvaccinated puppy at home, it’s important to protect them. You can do this by only allowing them around dogs you know have been vaccinated, such as your own dogs, and not walking them until they’ve had the jab.
Proper sanitation is also key to preventing the spread of parvovirus in a multi-dog household. It’s crucial to ensure that your home is regularly cleaned and disinfected, particularly in areas where your dogs spend a lot of time. This includes cleaning their toys, feeding bowls, and bedding. Use a disinfectant that is safe for dogs as some products can be toxic.
If you have a dog that has been diagnosed with or potentially exposed to parvovirus, the most important step is to isolate them from any other dogs immediately. This prevents the spread of the virus and reduces the risk of any of your other dogs getting sick. Depending on the severity, your dog may be hospitalised – it’s important to follow the instructions given to you by your vet in this situation.
Making sure that your dogs get adequate socialisation is important. However, it’s important to be aware that it can also increase the risk of exposure to parvovirus. Whether you’re sending your dog to doggy day-care, or walking in a dog park, always choose a facility that has strict vaccination policies in place. While digging out vaccination paperwork can be a slight inconvenience, the rules are in place to keep your dog safe.
Parvovirus is a very serious condition that can be fatal for dogs. Whether you have one dog or several, understanding the signs and how to prevent it is crucial.