Parvovirus is a virus which attacks the cells lining the gut. It causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea which is often fatal in young dogs. Cats also have their own version of the disease called feline enteritis.
Animals will catch the disease from virus excreted into the environment. An animal which has the disease can excrete the virus particles for up to 8 weeks. Infection following walking in an environment where a sick dog has been is far more common that direct contact with an infected dog and the virus particles can survive in the environment for a long time. Virus particles can also be carried on shoes and clothing.
There is no treatment as such, as being a virus antibiotics cannot cure the disease. Infected animals are hospitalised and need to be given intensive fluid therapy. Treatment is often costly and disappointing as many animals do not survive the damage done to the gut by the virus.
Vaccination is safe and effective. Puppies and un-vaccinated animals need two vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart and thereafter a health check every year. After several years of vaccinations where the animal has built up sufficient immunity and the vaccine manufacturer is confident that the vaccine will be protective, we would reduce the frequency of vaccination with Parvovirus to every 3 years. Our vaccine protocol allows this to be done, whilst still requiring annual boosters for other diseases such as Parainfluenza and Leptospirosis. If your dog has been given this vaccination protocol then please be assured that he/she is still well protected.
What other measure can I take?
Parvovirus survives in the environment for a long time (sometimes years). It is not easily killed by heat or conventional disinfectants. You should remove faeces from the environment regularly. Bleach will kill the virus particles if you are worried that areas around your home are infected, or to clean the bottom of shoes for example.
What do I do if I think my dog could be infected?
Typical signs are vomiting and diarrhoea. If you are concerned, please telephone for an appointment but do not bring your dog in to the waiting room until he/she has been examined by a vet, as they may be contagious to other animals.
Blood tests and faeces samples may be necessary to confirm possible infection.
If you have any concerns then please contact us for further advice. If you know any of your friends, relatives or colleagues with un-vaccinated animals – please pass it on!!
October 26th 2010
We are getting reports of cases of Parvovirus in the county. Parvovirus is a deadly disease which cause vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. Mortality rate in young dogs are very high, so it is much better to protect your dog with vaccinations.
Vaccines are safe and effective but must be given regularly. If you are unsure as to whether your dog is up to date then please ring us to check.
If it has been more than a year since your last health check and booster, bring your dog in as soon as possible so that we can ensure that he/she is properly covered.
If you have any queries or concerns, please ring us or see the section above on Parvovirus.
Stay safe this winter with The Fenton Veterinary Practice health club – visit the pages on our website to learn more about our monthly direct debit payment to cover your vaccinations, flea, worm treatment and much more.