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What Every Puppy Parent Needs to Know About Parvo in Puppies

As a dog parent, it’s essential to be aware of the dangers of parvo in puppies. Parvo is a highly contagious virus that can cause severe illness and even death in young dogs. If you have a puppy, it’s important to vaccinate them against parvo with a series of shots. If you’re in need of scheduling dog vaccinations in Albuquerque, contact Petroglyph Animal Hospital today!

What Causes Parvo?

Parvo is caused by a really tough virus and is spread through contact with contaminated feces. Dogs and coyotes can both spread parvo through their feces. The virus can live in the environment for years, in the soil, in gravel yards, in dog parks, and on sidewalks. The virus is resistant to heat, cold, and many common disinfectants, so it can easily spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. This is why it’s so important that puppies without a complete set of vaccinations are not allowed to walk in public places. And why locations with a previous parvo outbreak need to be cleaned diligently to remove all organic material and then cleaned with a bleach solution to kill any lingering virus.

Can My Dog Get Parvo Even If Vaccinated?

Yes, your dog can still get parvo even if they have received dog vaccinations. This is because the immunity of growing puppies is in conflict with the immunity they receive from their mother before birth and in their early days of nursing. So, it is vitally important to give the proper vaccinations in series. Going too long between boosters or discontinuing boosters too young, before the puppy has achieved their own strong immunity, can leave them vulnerable to infection. Even adult dogs can become infected with parvovirus.

What Are the Symptoms of Parvo?

The most common symptoms of parvo include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (often bloody)
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Severe abdominal pain

If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Symptoms can come on quickly, within a matter of hours. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for a successful outcome. If one puppy in a litter starts showing symptoms and tests positive for parvo, all the puppies are considered to be exposed to the virus. Healthy-appearing puppies should be separated from the sick pup and watched closely for signs of illness.

How is Parvo Treated?

Treatment for parvovirus focuses on relieving the symptoms and supporting the dog’s body as they fight the infection. Treatment may include:

  • Intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and deliver nutrients
  • Antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Pain relief medication
  • Antiemetic medication to control vomiting
  • Specialized diets to help gently restart the dog’s digestive system once they start eating again

How Can I Prevent My Dog from Getting Parvo?

The best way to prevent parvovirus is to vaccinate your dog. Vaccination is much cheaper than treating the infection! Thankfully, there are dog vaccinations in Albuquerque that can help protect your puppy from parvo.

Puppies should receive their first vaccine at seven to eight weeks of age, and a booster vaccine should be given every three to four weeks until they are at least 16 weeks old. After that, dogs should receive a parvo vaccine every year or three years.

Until your puppy’s series of vaccinations is complete as approved by your veterinarian, limit your puppy’s bathroom breaks to your own safe yard or use puppy pads indoors for the wee ones. Socialization, which is so important for puppies, should take place in equally controlled environments with dogs who are known to be vaccinated and free of disease.

Dog Vaccinations in Albuquerque – How to Save Your Dog and Others from Parvo

Keeping up with your dog’s vaccinations is important to prevent the spread of potentially fatal diseases like parvo. A canine population with a high rate of vaccination can help limit parvo outbreaks in shelters and among stray dogs.

If you have any questions about dog vaccinations or parvovirus, please contact one of the veterinarians at Petroglyph Animal Hospital for help. Petroglyph Animal Hospital offers parvo vaccinations as well as other shots necessary to keep your dog safe and healthy. Call us today to schedule an appointment!