How Is Parvovirus Transmitted?
Parvovirus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog's feces. Highly resistant, the virus can live in the environment for months, and may survive on inanimate objects such as food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors. It is common for an unvaccinated dog to contract parvovirus from the streets, especially in urban areas where there are many dogs.
How Is Parvovirus Diagnosed?
Veterinarians diagnose parvovirus on the basis of clinical signs and laboratory testing. The Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay (ELISA) test has become a common test for parvovirus. The ELISA test kit is used to detect parvovirus in a dogs stools, and is performed in the vets office in about 15 minutes
Which Dogs Are Prone to Parvovirus?
Puppies, adolescent dogs and canines who are not vaccinated are most susceptible to the virus. The canine parvovirus affects most members of the dog family (wolves, coyotes, foxes, etc.). Breeds at a higher risk are Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Labrador retrievers, American Staffordshire terriers and German shepherds.
How Can Parvovirus Be Prevented?
You can protect your dog from this potential killer by making sure hes up-to-date on his vaccinations. Parvovirus should be considered a core vaccine for all puppies and adult dogs. It is usually recommended that puppies be vaccinated with combination vaccines that take into account the risk factors for exposure to various diseases.
Generally, the first vaccine is given at 6-8 weeks of age and a booster is given at four-week intervals until the puppy is 16-20 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age. A puppies vaccination program is not complete before four months of age. Older dogs who have not received full puppy vaccination series may be susceptible to parvovirus and should also receive at least one immunization. Consult with your veterinarian about how often your dog will need to be revaccinated.
Because parvovirus can live in an environment for months, you will want to take extra care if there has been an infected dog in your house or yard. Some things are easier to clean and disinfect than others and even with excellent cleaning, parvovirus can be difficult to eradicate. Parvo is resistant to many typical disinfectants. A solution of one part bleach to 32 parts water can be used where organic material is not present. The infected dogs toys, food dish and water bowl should be properly cleaned and then disinfected with this solution for 10 minutes. If not disinfected, these articles should be discarded. You can also use the solution on the soles of your shoes if you think you've walked through an infected area. Areas that are harder to clean (grassy areas, carpeting and wood, for example) may need to be sprayed with disinfectant, or even resurfaced.
How Can Parvovirus Be Treated?
Although there are no drugs available that can kill the virus yet, treatment is generally straightforward and consists of aggressive supportive care to control the symptoms and boost your dogs immune system to help him win the battle against this dangerous disease. Dogs infected with parvovirus need intensive treatment in a veterinary hospital, where they receive antibiotics, drugs to control the vomiting, intravenous fluids and other supportive therapies. Should your dog undergo this treatment, be prepared for considerable expense the average hospital stay is about 5-7 days.
Please note that treatment is not always successful so its especially important to make sure your dog is vaccinated
What Are Some Home Treatment Options?
Because parvovirus is such a serious disease, it is not recommended to attempt home treatment. Even with the best veterinary care, this disease is often fatal.
When Is it Time to See the Vet?
If you notice your dog experiencing severe vomiting, loss of appetite, depression or bloody diarrhea, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What Are Some Other Health Issues with These Same Symptoms?
A puppy with a bloody diarrhea could have a parasite problem, a virus other than parvovirus, a stress colitis, or may have eaten something that disagreed with him or injured and blocked his digestive tract. Its crucial that you see your vet for an accurate diagnosis.
It is summertime and you and your pets are spending a lot more time outdoors enjoying the pleasant weather. Well guess what, you're not the only creatures enjoying the nice weather. Yes, about this time of year veterinarians begin to see dogs and cats come into the hospital for treatment of snakebites. Here are some things that you should know to help keep your pet safe from these slithery creatures.
Avoid chance encounters with snakes:
Keep your yard tidy by clearing away undergrowth, toys and tools that make great hiding places for snakes.
Keep walkways clear of brush, flowers and shrubs.
Clean up any spilled food, fruit or bird seed, which can attract rodents-and therefore snakes-to your yard.
When walking your pet, keep him on a leash.
Steer your pet clear of long grasses, bushes and rocks.
Snakes can strike across a distance equal to about half their body length. If you see a snake, head back the way you came.
Familiarize yourself with snakes who are common in your area. In the event of a bite, identifying the type of snake may help with your pet's treatment.
Recognize Snake Bite Symptoms:
Local or general swelling
Low blood pressure
Dead tissue around the wound
Shortness of breath
What to Do If You Think Your Pet's Been Bitten:
Remember to stay calm.
Keep your pet calm, too, by limiting his activity.
If your pet was bitten on the neck, remove his collar.
If possible, keep the location of the bite below heart level.
Seek veterinary care for your pet immediately.
Treatment options such as cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound and trying to suck out venom should not be attempted in place of getting your pet to the vet-they may just waste precious time.
Always keep your personal safety in mind and do not try to catch or kill a snake yourself.
Even if you think a snake is dead, never handle him. Some dead snakes are capable of inflicting a bite by muscle contractions.
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