There has been such a rise in parvovirus cases over the last few months I wanted to write a blog to raise awareness and so to provide some information to hand should your pet become sick.
Parvovirus is a really nasty virus that attacks the intestines and the immune system.
The virus is highly contagious and is spread in faeces/poo particles. It can actually live in the environment for up to 2 months.
- Diarrhoea (fowl bloody distinctive smell)
- Reduced appetite
The vet will throughly examine your dog and take a clinical history.
They will check vital signs like the pulse, respiration, temperature, gum colour and hydration level.
If the vet suspects parvovirus they will perform a test similar to a covid lateral flow test to confirm their diagnosis. If the test is positive then they would need to admit the pet into the isolation ward.
The vets, nurses and veterinary care assistants working in the isolation ward will wear personal protective equipment. This is to help prevent the spread of the virus to other pets in the hospital.
The dog is then placed onto a drip. Added medications in the fluid bag attached to the drip help replace the salts and sugars lost due to the vomiting and diarrhoea. The drip will also correct the dehydration. An anti sickness medication will be given along with painkillers.
The patient will require intensive care they will be closely monitored, kept clean, dry and warm. A feeding tube may be inserted, if not then attempts will be made to hand feed the dog.
Parvovirus is really awful to nurse you feel so helpless and often after spending so much time caring for them it’s an awful feeling to see a significant amount succumb to the virus.
The survival rate in dogs and puppies who receive early, aggressive treatment is around 80-95%. But for those who are not treated, their chances of survival are less than 10%.
The good news is that Parvovirus can be prevented by vaccinating your pet and keeping up to date with their yearly boosters. Like with all vaccinations pets can still contract the virus but their immune system will kick in faster and fight the virus so symptoms will be lesser than if the pet wasn’t vaccinated at all.
- If you suspect parvovirus get in touch with your vets as soon as possible
- Check mucus membranes (gum colour) should be healthy pink colour. (Look out for brick red colour – meaning toxicity
- Check hydration level – press gum with your finger it’s should be moist and NOT tacky
- Check hydration – lift skin and back of neck it should spring back to place instantly if it stays like a coat hanger shape your pet is dehydrated.
Certain breeds are susceptible parvovirus for example: American Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds and Rottweilers, are at increased risk. Among dogs older than six months, intact males are more likely than intact females to develop parvo.
I hope you have found this useful, Thanks so much for reading!