Part of the responsibility of having a pet is making sure their vaccines are up to date. Vaccines prevent dangerous infections like rabies, canine distemper, and canine parvovirus.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than 1 year are the most at risk. The virus affects dogs’ gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces, or people and objects that have come into contact with contaminated feces.
The most common symptoms of this virus include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Severe, often bloody diarrhea.
If you notice that your dog is showing symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Most deaths from parvovirus occur withing 48 to 72 hours following the onset of symptoms without proper treatment.
How can I prevent my dog getting infected?
First and foremost, make sure your dog is vaccinated against parvovirus along with other common canine diseases. Many animal-welfare organizations regularly offer low-cost vaccination clinics for pets at risk to make prevention more accessible to the community.
Keeping your dog’s area clean and practicing good hygiene will help to stop the spread of any infection. Also, it is best to limit your pet’s contact with other dog’s feces, particularly if they are unvaccinated.
Keeping your pets safe is very important. For more information about how the Animal Rescue League can help you and your pet, please call 610-373-8830 or visit www.berksarl.org.
By Jason Banning, DVM
ARL’s Medical Director