Parvovirus causes vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs and is one of the major infections that dogs pick up in Laos. The severity and survival rate of the disease is variable. Dogs which do survive can suffer long-term consequences such as chronic diarrhoea and heart disease. The virus attacks quickly growing tissues so pups less than 6 months are especially susceptible. Infection occurs through contact with contaminated faeces which is why it is a common problem in pet-shops. Incubation time (from encountering the virus to developing the disease) is 2-14 days.
Infected dogs excrete the virus in their faeces for approximately 2 weeks post infection. The virus can remain in the environment for years.
Presentation: Sudden onset of bloody diarrhoea/vomiting, decreased appetite, lethargy and fever. Some puppies may collapse with the gastric signs.
Based on controlling the symptoms. The goals are to mollify the intestinal tract, restore and maintain the fluid-electrolyte balance and resolve shock, sepsis and endotoxaemia.
Treatment regimens include fluid therapy, anti-vomiting and anti-diarrhoeal drugs, antibiotics and drugs which control endotoxaemia and shock.
The cardiac form often causes sudden death and is not treatable.
The risk is reduced by vaccination but NOT eliminated. Vaccination can be started from 6 weeks of age. 2-3 vaccines are normally required (depending on age/breed) followed by annual boosters.
Some breeds are more susceptible (Rottweilers, Dobermans, Spaniels) to parvovirus infection and in these cases the vet may recommend a follow up vaccine for puppies at around 5 months of age.
Vaccines cannot be given to dogs already suffering from the disease.
Other preventative measures include: