Animal Ark Rescue’s Parvo Puppy Unit provides shelters an alternative to euthanasia for puppies that contract parvovirus. By placing puppies that contract parvo in quarantine, maintaining cross-contamination protocol and providing consistent care and treatment to puppies that have contracted parvovirus, this unit saves a highly adoptable segment of the euthanasia list: puppies!
What is it?
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problem.
You can protect your dog from this potential killer by making sure he’s up-to-date on his vaccinations. Parvovirus should be considered a core vaccine for all puppies and adult dogs. It is usually recommended that puppies be vaccinated with combination vaccines that take into account the risk factors for exposure to various diseases. Because parvovirus can live in an environment for months, you will want to take extra care if there has been an infected dog in your house or yard. Some things are easier to clean and disinfect than others-and even with excellent cleaning, parvovirus can be difficult to eradicate. Parvo is resistant to many typical disinfectants. A solution of one part bleach to 32 parts water can be used where organic material is not present.
Signs and Symptoms
The general symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, severe vomiting, loss of appetite and bloody, foul-smelling diarrhea that can lead to life-threatening dehydration.
Although there are no drugs available that can kill the virus yet, treatment is generally straightforward and consists of aggressive supportive care to control the symptoms and boost your dog’s immune system to help him win the battle against this dangerous disease. Dogs infected with parvovirus need intensive treatment in a facility that can handle this disease, where they receive antibiotics, drugs to control the vomiting, intravenous fluids and other supportive therapies. Please note that treatment is not always successful-so it’s especially important to make sure your dog is vaccinated.