Canine parvo or parvovirus disease is a disease in dogs usually in puppies caused by a virus called parvovirus. It’s a disease that affects the intestinal system. It actually gets into the cells of the intestinal system and kills those cells so the body is now without a lining to the intestinal system. The puppy usually comes in, he is not eating or drinking, he can be very lethargic, inactive, depressed.
It can have vomiting and bloody diarrhea. It’s very sad when they come in like that because at that point they need a lot of treatment. Sometimes we can see them and it can be early, but with parvo it is very difficult even to see them early because it can be a very fast progressing disease. I’ve heard of people, they call me and go, “my puppy was not eating yesterday and started having vomiting and diarrhea overnight and this morning he is not alive.” It can be just that fast. And it can be difficult for me to explain that to people when they come in sometimes. Their puppy’s sick and I want to treat them and they say let me take some time to decide and I say, “Look, it’s not really something you can take time to decide. It’s an emergency situation. The puppy’s not eating, not drinking, vomiting and diarrhea, he’s going to get dehydrated and very soon he wont be with us anymore. Obviously we don’t want that.”
The treatment for parvo is quite extensive. First of all we have to rehydrate the body. We have to give the body antibiotics and try and keep the body from having vomiting and diarrhea. We do all of that. It’s very intensive treatment and it can get quite expensive. So we really want to prevent that. The way to prevent that is to have a puppy get all of its vaccinations. We start vaccinating them at six weeks for parvo and we like to vaccinate them every three of four weeks after that until they are about five months or so. Unfortunately if they start the vaccinations when they are a little bit older, we want to vaccinate them, we still want to do some booster vaccinations, some follow-up vaccinations so the protection for Parvo is complete and they won’t get it and they’ll hopefully be okay.