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GENERAL RULE: Parvovirus (or Parvo, as it is commonly called) is a serious disease that in some cases, particularly in the very young, can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated immediately. Parvo is very contagious and has evolved various viral strains that make it a continuing challenge to the veterinary community. Be alert to the symptoms and consult your veterinarian immediately if you think your pet may be infected.
ABOUT PARVO – Parvo is spread by a virus that is excreted through the feces of an infected pet and is often exhibited by diarrhea (often containing blood). Vomiting, lethargy, high fever and loss of appetite usually accompany the diarrhea. The virus grows rapidly, dividing within the intestinal lining and attacks the healthy cells that line the intestine. Because it is doing its initial damage within the intestine, your pet will have trouble absorbing valuable nutrients and liquids. Parvo also will cause a reduction in white blood cells that can subsequently infect the animal’s heart and lead to death.
WHAT TO DO – We will start with prevention and then move to treatment. Prevention starts at the veterinarian’s office when you pet is small. Adherence to the vaccinations recommended by your vet (often included with your pet’s distemper vaccination) will make your pet’s life and yours much happier. But even early preventative measures may not be adequate because of the incubation period (1 – 2 weeks) of the disease or contact with other infected animals. This brings us to the second part – treatment.
If your pet is infected, there are a number of things you must to quickly.
- Isolate your pet from all other pets and get to your vet.
- Get any other pets that have not had their shots inoculated.
- Remove all you pet’s stools from your yard or any place your pet has been (this should be your practice anyway). Also clean up all vomit. Do the later with detergent.
- Make a mixture of water and bleach (diluted to around 25 parts water to one part bleach) to wash bedding, food and water bowls, and all hard surfaces (floors, kennels, cages, carriers, etc.) Don’t forget car seats if necessary.
- Increase the strength closer to one part water to ten parts water and head outdoors. Spray the entire yard with the solution and then go to (ask permission if necessary) other places where your pet may have had access and do the same.
- Put your pet on a bland diet until it fully recovers.
You may ask, “why all the cleaning?” The answer is that Parvo can live up to 6 month or more anyplace it has touched: your home, the yard, the kennel, the transport cage, the car seat, the carpet, the bedding, the water or food bowl, the driveway, the basement … get the idea?
SUMMARY: If you aren’t worried about Parvovirus by now, you either have your pet fully immunized or you have an appointment in the near future to get your pet its shots. Pet owners should take responsibility for their pet’s health and the health of all other animals they may contact. For additional information on this subject, we suggest using your favorite search engine and typing in “Parvovirus.”