Schertz Animal Hospital’s Blog
A Vicious Virus: Facts About Parvovirus and Protecting Your Pet
The word parvovirus elicits fear in most pet owners – and for good reason. Canine parvovirus is a potentially deadly illness that affects dogs (and cats in rare cases) by targeting the gastrointestinal system. Outbreaks of parvovirus have been identified throughout the country, including here in Texas. As the weather continues to warm up, we’re anticipating an uptick in the number of illnesses caused by highly contagious viruses such as parvo.
Because parvovirus is an illness that can be avoided through vaccination, it’s important for all pet owners to better understand this disease and how to prevent it from affecting our animal companions.
What is Parvovirus?
Canine parvovirus, often shortened to “parvo,” is a viral illness that causes hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, which manifests as sudden vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms can include lethargy, anorexia, fever, and dehydration. Parvo can become life-threatening within 72 hours unless treated, and even then, the prognosis may still be serious. In fact, parvovirus is fatal in 16%-48% of cases.
Parvo is spread through contact with an infected animal or feces, as well as contact with water and food bowls, clothing, leashes/collars, and other items of an infected dog (including its owner). Typically, we see more cases during the spring and summer months when more people are at parks and other places with their pets.
Parvovirus primarily attacks puppies and dogs with compromised health who haven’t been fully vaccinated against the disease. Parvo is also more readily seen in areas where several dogs are housed, such as animal shelters or in backyard breeding operations.
Risk factors include:
- Not vaccinating your dog
- Puppies under the age of 20 weeks
- Certain breeds report higher rates, including rottweilers, pitbull terriers, German shepherds, and dobermans
- Dogs with compromised immunity
It’s imperative, however, to stress that any unvaccinated dog can acquire this disease.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Along with careful examination of the clinical signs of parvovirus, there are a few diagnostic tests that can provide a more accurate diagnosis, such as the PCR or ELISA tests and complete blood count. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the first step is to counter dehydration through the use of IV fluids. Antibiotics, probiotics to replenish “good bacteria” in the intestinal tract, and other supportive treatments are also utilized. With early intervention and treatment, survival rates can be as high as 90 percent.
Steps to Prevention
Knowing the severity of this illness and how easily it can spread, prevention is imperative to containing this deadly virus.
- Keep your pet current on all core vaccines.
- Talk to your veterinarian about reducing your pet’s risk.
- Do not expose your puppy to other dogs and public places until fully vaccinated (make sure to follow up on all boosters).
- Avoid dog parks, daycares, and other facilities in the event of an outbreak or in the case of an unvaccinated or ill pet.
- Practice good hygiene by washing your hands after petting other animals.
- Respond to any symptoms by contacting us right away.
Parvovirus is one of the most frightening illnesses that can harm our pet population, but with vaccination and education, you can keep your pet free from harm. For more information about parvovirus and vaccination, please contact the team at Schertz Animal Hospital.
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Dr. Mossburg is WONDERFUL! He is so patient! Answers all my questions. I don't feel rushed. He is just so awesome with our Sophie! — S. Cobarruvias
This is the only place I trust with my girl. They always take great care of my Yorkie. — A Byrd
We can't say enough about Schertz Animal Hospital. Dr. Rodriguez and the whole staff are wonderful and so caring. — P. Ring
This is a wonderful animal hospital. Will highly recommend them for anyone who loves and cares about their pets. — B. Lewis
Have taken our pets there for years. Dr. R. Is the best. We appreciate him and the rest of his hard working staff. — C. Yeary
These are our first pets and first ever Vet visit. We are very pleased with the attention, knowledge, and quality of care. Very pleased with our decision!. — J. Tibbetts
We love the care the staff provides, they are big enough to provide services without having to wait long for an appointment, but still make you feel like family. Love this place. — T. Ha
Took my cat in today on an emergency basis and they were so helpful and kind. They have done what they can for him. I have a dog too and this is the only place I will be taking her to. Best vet we have ever been too. — L. Hamilton
Exceptional customer service and great care of my Sammy! Dr. Rodriguez "Dr. R" is the BEST! — A. Garcia
We absolutely love Schertz Animal Hospital for our puppy! They are so caring and take good care of our Bella. — P. Willard
The entire staff is friendly to me and my Bradley. I feel that my Bradley is in good hands. — A. Cano
Love Schertz Animal Hospital. The staff are all friendly and helpful. Dr. Mossburg is thorough and caring. We have taken 3 of our rescues there. Most recently our 7 year old Rottweiler we rescued. They have always taken excellent care of them. — A. Peterson
Schertz Animal Hospital really cares about your pet. They know their stuff. They been in Schertz for many years. All the doctors really know how to relate to us as they are pet owners too. I highly recommend them for all your Veterinary needs. You won't be sorry. SAH thank you for taking such great care of my Service Dog. — K. Duchess
Schertz Animal Hospital is a group of some of the most selfless people. They have been so attentive and caring to my pups, literally dropping everything to care for their needs. I am blessed and ever so grateful to have this team a part of my little family's life. Alley and Noah looooove you all! Y'all are the bomb dot com! Keep on keepin' on ladies and gents! — A.H
Dr. Mossberg and his assistant, Terri, are outstanding! Rusty can be difficult and they are so patient and kind. My husband and I really appreciate that they go the extra mile! Thank you!!! — T. & M. Taylor
I am totally satisfied with the practices, procedures, and service currently in place and have no recommendation for improvement. — R. Schutte
The front staff are awesome and have great attitudes. Very friendly and approachable. — R. & D. Carter
This is the one place that I feel completely safe with taking my Jasmine too. All of you take good care of her. Thank you. — C. & J. Smith
I appreciate being able to walk in (I did call first) with no appt. The doctor was booked but he still took care of my pet. Kudos to Dr. Rodriguez!! — S. & C. Mag
You are doing everything super good!!! Keep it up!!!! — W. Williams
I have never had a vet office that treats its patients so well, and throughly explains all diagnosis and possible treatment. I have always bragged on this office and will continue to do so. — M. & N. Heller
Always professional, clean atmosphere. — J. Wilson
Love how Dr Rodriguez has a passion for what he does - it makes a huge difference! The staff is friendly and caring - thank you. — Anonymous
Very nice facility that is well kept up. Whenever one of my pets needs medical care,I know I can rely on Schertz Animal Hospital to provide excellent care. — D. & R. Lanier
Dr. Rodriguez and his staff are always pleasant, caring and I feel very confident in the care given to all of our pets! :) — M. & J. Hild