by Brittany Carames
Description: Extremely contagious!!!! Parvovirus is primarily a gastrointestinal disease. Very young dogs and unvaccinated dogs are most likely to contract the virus. Unsanitary conditions and large crowds (shelter, kennel, etc.) help to spread the virus.
Causes/Transmission: Unlike other viruses, Parvovirus is extremely stable in the environment and is resistant to the effects of heat, detergents and alcohol. The virus is also resistant to decay or time. It can survive for long periods of time and be transmitted to any dog by simple contact with contaminated objects such as shoes, toys, clothing, insects, etc. Feces of infected dogs contain the most viral particles. Dogs become infected by ingesting the virus but there does not have to be direct contact between the 2 dogs. Dogs that become infected with the virus will become ill within 7-10 days and sometimes sooner.
Clinical Signs: The primary signs are gastrointestinal and include diminished appetite, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting is often severe and diarrhea is profuse and bloody.
Diagnostic Testing: There are several different tests that can be performed:
- Idexx SNAP Parvo Test: performed on fecal sample. Very rapid and reliable however false-positives are possible 5-12 days after vaccination for parvovirus.
- CBC – may show low numbers of certain WBC’s and platelets. Anemia is also detected.
- Chemistry Panel – may show low blood protein levels and electrolyte imbalances.
- X-rays – help rule out other causes of GI signs.
Treatment: ISOLATION!!!!! Treatment is largely supportive with intravenous fluids, plasma transfusions and anti-vomiting medications. More severe cases can be treated with whole blood transfusions, intravenous antibiotics and injectable vitamin supplements.
Can Humans Get It?: No