What is Canine Parvovirus?
Also known as CPV, Canine Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral illness that can be debilitating and even fatal. It has two main forms, the more common intestinal variety
CPV is resistant to the majority of cleaning products and household bleach is the only known way to eradicate it.
What causes CPV?
The CPV virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal, or indirectly through contact with the stools of an infected dog which contain a heavy concentration of the virus. This contact can include inhalation as well as touch. The virus can also live on the ground for up to a year where it can be brought into contact with a dog by way of shoes.
Certain breeds of dog are more susceptible to CPV. These
As with most contagious diseases, animal shelters and kennels are much more likely to be contaminated.
Symptoms of CPV
The intestinal variety of CPV affects an animals’ ability to absorb nutrients from their food. This means that an infected dog will rapidly become dehydrated and weak.
The primary symptoms of intestinal CPV include but are not limited to:
Anorexia / severe weight loss
Pain, particularly if the abdomen is touched
Wettissue of eyes and mouth becomes red and inflamed
In rare cases of
A combination of tests
Imaging studies including x-rays and ultrasounds
You will also be asked to provide a comprehensive history of the health of your pet and the progression of any symptoms that they have displayed. You may also be asked to provide samples of other bodily fluids.
There is no cure for CPV itself, but
Puppies have a lower survival rate owing to their underdeveloped immune systems. The survival rate for adult dogs is usually around 70%. Dogs who do not survive usually succumb to secondary bacterial infections, organ failure from severe dehydration, intestinal hemorrhages or as a result of toxins in the bloodstream.
Prevention is better than cure!
As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than cure. Vaccinations against CPV can be done as early as 6 weeks old and puppies should be vaccinated at least 3 times, 3 weeks apart. After 12 weeks of age, they should be sufficiently vaccinated to have contact with other animals, but it is wise to avoid dogs with unknown vaccine history until after the final booster. If your pet is one of the higher risk breeds your pet may require an extended initial vaccination program.
If you are re-homing an older dog then check with the shelter or current owner when it last had a CPV vaccination. If you are in any doubt at all then consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet receives the correct vaccination program for their requirements.
Dogs that have had CPV need to be kept in isolation for a minimum of two months after the initial recovery stage. Your pet will still have a weakened immune system and your veterinarian will be able to advise you on ways that you can boost this. Your pet will also prefer an easy to digest diet, and for its food and water to be close by. Ensure that you regularly clean all of your dogs’ equipment with a non-toxic cleaner.
Unfortunately suffering from CPV does not leave your pet with immunity and there is no guarantee that it will not reoccur. Make sure your dog is vaccinated against CPV as soon as possible, and stick to a regular schedule.