Parvo Jan 28, 2009 10:57:35 GMT -5
Post by charmingnancy on Jan 28, 2009 10:57:35 GMT -5
What is Parvo?
Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV2, or shortened to parvo) is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs. Parvo is currently the most common infectious disorder of dogs in the United States. There are two types of canine parvovirus called canine minute virus (CPV1) and CPV2. CPV2 causes the most serious disease and affects domesticated dogs and wild canids. There are variants of CPV2 called CPV-2a, CPV-2b and CPV-2c. Types 2a and 2b are distinct from the original CPV type 2 in terms of virulence and their ability to infect and cause disease in cats, too. CPV-2c is a newly identified variant similar to 2b. Today, CPV-2b has largely replaced the previous strains as the most common parvovirus causing disease in the dog. There is currently some discussion that there may be other strains that are beginning to emerge and have yet to be formally identified. There are two forms of Parvo, cardiac (less common) and intestinal.
Current vaccinations have helped to control the spread of this disease but despite being vaccinated, some dogs still contract and die from parvo.
How is Parvo spread?
Parvovirus is spread through contact with feces containing the virus. The virus is known to survive on inanimate objects - such as clothing, food pans, and cage floors - for 5 months and longer in the right conditions. Insects and rodents may also serve as vectors playing an important role in the transmission of the disease. This means any fecal material or vomit needs to be removed with a detergent before the bleach solution is used. The bleach solution should be used on bedding, dishes, kennel floors and other impervious materials that may be contaminated.
The normal incubation period (time from exposure to the virus to the time when signs of disease appear) is from 7-14 days. Active excretion of the virus in the feces can begin the third day after exposure, often before clinical signs appear, and may last for one to two weeks after the onset of the disease.
What are the symptoms that you dog may have Parvo?
The most common form of the disease is the intestinal form known as enteritis. Parvovirus enteritis is characterized by vomiting (often severe), diarrhea, dehydration, dark or bloody feces, and in severe cases, fever and lowered white blood cell counts. Dogs that develop the disease show symptoms of the illness within 5 to 10 days.
How is it diagnosed?
Not all cases of bloody diarrhea with or without vomiting are caused by parvovirus and many sick puppies are misdiagnosed as having 'parvo.' The only way to know if a dog has parvovirus is through a positive diagnostic test.
How is it treated?
The treatment of parvovirus is fairly straightforward and directed at supportive therapy. Replacing fluids lost through vomiting and diarrhea is probably the single most important treatment. Intravenous administration of a balanced electrolyte solution is preferred, but in less severe cases, subcutaneous or oral fluids may be used. In severe cases, blood transfusions may be necessary.
Antibiotic therapy is usually given to help control secondary bacterial infections. In those dogs who have severe symptoms, antiserum against endotoxins may be given. Corticosteroids may be given if the animal is in shock. In cases of severe vomiting, drugs to slow the vomiting may also be used. After the intestinal symptoms begin to subside, a broad spectrum de-worming agent is often used. Restricting the food during periods of vomiting is also necessary and parenternal nutrition (providing nutrients intravenously) may be necessary.
What is the prognosis?
In summary, parvovirus is a very common problem that is a huge killer of puppies. Due to its ability to be transmitted through hands, clothes, and most likely rodents and insects, it is virtually impossible to have a kennel that will not eventually be exposed to the disease.
Survival rate depends on how quickly CPV is diagnosed, the age of the animal and how aggressive the treatment is. A puppy with minimal symptoms can recover in 2 or 3 days if the IV fluids are begun as soon as symptoms are noticed and the CPV test confirms the diagnosis. However, even with hospitalization, there is no guarantee that the dog will survive. Untreated cases of CPV2 will have a mortality (percentage that will die) approaching 91%. With aggressive therapy survival rates may approach 80-95%
If a puppy recovers from parvovirus infection, he is immune to reinfection for probably at least twenty months and possibly for life. In addition, after recovery the virus is not shed in the feces.