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Canine parvovirus is a serious viral infection that affects both young and old dogs. There are two forms of the infection. The intestinal form causes vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite and weight loss. The animal can become extremely lethargic and weak from dehydration. The cardiac form of the disease occurs in young puppies, typically between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 months. It attacks the heart muscle and the result is usually fatal. The virus is transmitted either directly from animal to animal or via contact with fecal matter. The virus can even be carried on the hands or clothing of people who work around infected animals. The infection is diagnosed by physical examination, laboratory tests, and abdominal radiographs or ultrasound.
Parvo is a viral disease that does not respond to antibiotics, so treatment focuses on reducing the severity of symptoms and preventing severe dehydration. Controlling fluid loss is one of the essential treatments for the infection. Intravenous infusion of fluids may be necessary if the animal is too weak to take in fluid orally. The animal must be isolated and kept warm to aid recovery. Even aggressive veterinary treatment is not always sufficient to save the animal. Puppies with parvovirus infections often do not survive the disease. The recovery rate for adult dogs is generally higher. Even when dogs do survive the illness, they may have weakened immune systems that leave them vulnerable to other types of infections. Canine parvovirus vaccine is recognized as an effective method for the prevention of severe illness and risk of death associated with this virus. Parvo shots are considered part of the “core” vaccinations that all dogs should receive annually.
Parvovirus infection is common in conditions where animals congregate, such as in kennels, dog parks or boarding facilities. Dogs can pick up the virus easily from any area that is used as a bathroom. Parvo shots can help to reduce the rate of transmission of the disease and subsequent veterinary problems associated with infection. Your Phoenix veterinarian can provide additional information about your dog’s risk for contracting parvo and the safety of the vaccine.
North Central Animal Hospital can provide canine parvo vaccine so your dog can avoid this serious infection. Dr. Hillary Frank and her staff offer a range of veterinary services to keep pets healthy, including vaccinations, physical exams, wellness care, spay and neuter surgery, nutritional advice, laboratory services, internal and external parasite control, dental care, general surgery and avian care. Our pet hospital specializes in compassionate care for all types of pets. Call the North Central Animal Hospital today at 602-900-9586 to make an appointment to discuss canine parvo vaccine and other important wellness care measures with a veterinarian in Phoenix to learn the best ways to keep your pet healthy.