Parvovirus infection in dogs

What is canine parvovirus?
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious, fatal viral disease mainly affecting dogs with manifestation of signs like enteritis and myocarditis. It has high morbidity rate upto 100% and frequent mortality upto 10%. Parvovirus in canine was first recognized in 1978. Canine parvovirus is caused by Parvo, a single stranded DNA virus which is the smallest known virus that occurs in different species of animals.

How is parvovirus transmitted in dogs?
Parvovirus is transmitted via direct contact with infected dog or its excretions or indirect contact with their faeces. All secretions and excretions of the infected animal like vomitus and faeces contains parvovirus. The parvovirus spreads from parks, kennel, animal shelters, clinics or even at dog shows. It is transmitted from one place to another on the feet and hair of infected dogs.

What dogs are highly susceptible to parvovirus infection?
Unvaccinated dogs against canine parvovirus and puppies less than four months old are at increase risk. Breeds of dogs like Labrador, Dobermann, Rottweilers are also at high risk.

What are the signs of Parvovirus infection?
Parvovirus occours in two forms
Enteric form- Parvovirus has got affinity to epithelial lining of intestine leading to hemorrhagic gastroenteritis. Parvovirus infection occurs in all ages of dog but occurs in serious proportion on pups.Various signs observed in dogs suffering from enteric form of parvovirus are
(a) High rise of temperature initially but gradually turn to subnormal temperature
(b) Vomitting- Severe vomition and vomitus may be of frothy yellow colour
(c) Diarrhoea - Brownish semi- solid faeces mixed with mucus which is followed by
foetid haemorrhagic diarrhoea
(d) Dehydration- When vomittion and diarrhoes is severe there is loss of fluid and
electrolyte and so the dog become dehydrated
(e)Restlessness, increased thirst, loss of appetite

(f) Lethargy, depression

Cardiac form- Parvovirus damages the heart muscle. It is less common than enteric form and is more common among pups below 10 weeks of age. There is inflammation of the heart, breathing difficulty. Death occours due to cardiogenic shock. If the dog survives it will suffer from chronic myocardial and circulatory complications.

How is parvovirus diagnosed?
Parvovirus is diagnosed on the basis of clinical signs. But it doesn’t mean that all cases of vomiting and haemorrhagic diarrhoea are caused by parvovirus. So for confirmation laboratory diagnosis such as Animal inoculation test, Serum Neutralization test, ELISA, Haematology, Haemagglutination, Fluorescence antibioty technique is to be made.

How is parvo treated in dog?
Dogs with parvovirus infection need immediate veterinary care because if not treated in time can kill a dog within 2 to 3 days. There is no specific treatment against parvovirus and so symptomatic treatment can be rendered.
(a) Fluid therapy- In case of dehydration and to restore fluid and electrolyte loss
(b) Antibiotic like cefazolin, gentamycin, ampicillin, cefotoxin- To prevent secondary bacterial infection
(c) Antiemetics such as Reglan ( Metaclopromide)- To stop vomiting
(d) Acid blocker drugs like ranitidine, cimetidine- To correct gastritis
(e) Metronidazole, loparamide- To prevent diarrhoea
(f) Whole blood transfusion- In case of severe blood loss
Don’t feed the dog with anything for at least 24 hours if the dog is vomiting

How to control and prevent the spread of parvovirus?
(a)Vaccination- Vaccination against parvovirus will provide protection and control the disease. Puppies less than 3 months old should be given 2 injections. The first injection should be given between 6 and 8 weeks and the second injection after the 12th week. Adult dog should also be vaccinated. All dogs should be boostered at least once a year. To transfer immunity to the puppies, the bitch should be boostered within two weeks of whelping.
(b) Hygiene- Strict hygienic measures to be followed are-
Dogs kennel should be kept clean and disinfected
Contact with suspected dog specially their faeces should be minimized
Isolation of infected dog from healthy ones and should be treated

What to do if your house has parvovirus?
Disinfect contaminated areas. Bleach kills parvovirus. 10% bleach solution is used. Bleaching of bowls, floors, toys and contaminated things should be done. It is better not to bring another dog for about a year.

1 comment:

  1. why are labradors, dobermans etc considered high risk for parvo ?