Canine Parvovirus

  • By Kathy McRoberts
  • 07 Feb, 2011

Original article by Elizabeth Gigis, DVM,  West Chester Veterinary Center

With the moderate temperatures this fall, our hospital has seen a spike in the number of cases of canine parvovirus. This disease is severe and sometimes fatal, but is very preventable. If you have a young dog, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of parvovirus infection, as well as how to prevent it. The most common reason that we see parvovirus infection is a lack of proper vaccines. Newly adopted puppies should be taken to the veterinarian’s office so that the vaccine record can be reviewed and any vaccinations that need to be updated can be done at that time. This simple preventative step can save thousands of dollars and lots of heartache. Puppies should start their vaccine series between 6-8 weeks and be vaccinated every 3 weeks. This will protect them as they their immune systems mature. It is also important to note that no vaccine is 100 percent protective, especially in young animals, so if you see these clinic signs, a parvovirus test should be done. It is also prudent to wait until your puppy is 3 weeks past his last puppy vaccine to take him places that would put him at a high risk of exposure.

Canine parvovirus has been prevalent worldwide since the late 1970’s. Canine parvovirus causes an acute intestinal tract inflammation because the virus kills off cells that line the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also will attack the bone marrow and the immune system. The most common clinical signs of parvovirus are lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (bloody), and decreased appetite.   Parvovirus symptoms begin on average about 4-7 days after being exposed to the disease. Most veterinary hospitals are able to test for parvovirus in house, with a “snap” test that takes about ten minutes.

The treatment for parvovirus is well understood. Most dogs, if treated correctly, will make a full recovery. Dogs treated sooner in the course of the disease have a better prognosis. Treatment is mainly supportive, and consists of IV fluids (for hydration), broad spectrum antibiotics (to prevent bacterial spread in the blood stream), anti-nausea medication, and GI protestants. Other treatments may also include IV dextrose (to increase blood sugar) anti-viral drugs, and other special types of fluids to support blood pressure. The time spent in the hospital for each dog generally varies greatly. The general course is from three to seven days in the hospital. Parvovirus can also require a significant financial investment from the owner, sometimes amounting to thousands. It can be difficult for owners because it is such an unexpected and sudden event. This is why it is so important to take preventative steps and have your puppy vaccinated. Despite the vaccinations' availability since the 1980’s, parvo is still very prevalent. If a dog with parvovirus is not hospitalized, the prognosis decreases significantly. Prevention is the best medicine. Have your puppy vaccinated by your veterinarian and give him the start to a long, healthy life.

Elizabeth Gigis, DVM
West Chester Veterinary Center
7330 Liberty Way, West Chester, OH 45069

Cincinnati Dog Knowledge Center

By Pets in Need 08 Jan, 2018

Education is the first step  in pet poison prevention

Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The  Pet Poison Helpline  provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:

By Pets in Need 11 Dec, 2017

Outdoor Animals:

Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by  clicking here

A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.

By Pets in Need 27 Nov, 2017

Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.

Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the   National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.

In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The   ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack   that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.

By Pets in Need 14 Nov, 2017
First, let’s learn a bit of information about pet diabetes. Just like in humans, there are 2 types or diabetes in pets, which veterinarians typically refer to as insulin dependent and non-insulin dependent. One is caused when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, which is a hormone created by the pancreas that allows glucose (or sugars) to move from the blood stream into cells to create energy. With non-insulin dependent diabetes, the body is making enough insulin, but it can’t utilize the insulin efficiently. This can be caused by high body fat content, chronic cortisone administration, and/or certain hormones such as progesterone (produced during a pet’s heat period).
By Pets in Need 30 Oct, 2017

Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.

If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information.  Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.

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