Parvo in Dogs
One thing pet parents do not want to hear is parvovirus. This is especially true when they have new puppies, but did you know that dogs over the age of 1 year old can contract parvo?
Parvo has a 100% morbidity rate and a 90% mortality rate in puppies, and is lower with unvaccinated adult dogs, but still a risk. Puppies that are younger in age, just at weaning until 5 months, are the most at risk for this disease.
Symptoms can are not limited to: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (with or without blood), and depression. The problem with this virus is that it is preventable with regular vaccinations, but there is no cure.
Treatment can be given to support the puppy that is sick, but there is no guarantee that it will help them. This means hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotic injections, anti-nausea injections, fecal transfers, and sometimes blood transfusions are required. This is a very stressful and life threatening time for a puppy if they do become infected.
Now you may be wondering, why are puppies that are not weaned not at as great of a risk? The answer is simple: passive immunity. Passive immunity is a type of immunity that is passed from the mother to the babies when in utero or through her milk. Once the puppies are weaned, they will no longer receive this passive immunity and are put at risk for parvo. Now, once an animal begins their parvo vaccine series, this immunity is called an active immunity and this immunity will stay with the puppy.
The series normally consists of 4 vaccines. This is because the active immunity is not completely resistant to the disease. This means that the body does not recognize the illness and will not be able to react and fight it before it becomes too much for the puppy.
With parvo in mind, you may think that your puppy is fine the day they receive their last vaccine, when in reality it can take up to 2 weeks for this immunity to become affective.
So keep this in mind the next time your dog's vaccines are due.