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Save your puppy from Parvovirus

October 19th 2020

Author: Sarah Butler

Canine parvovirus kills thousands of puppies in Australia every year. Are your dogs safe?

Canine parvovirus (CPV), which is more commonly known as ‘parvo’, is a highly infectious disease with often fatal consequences. It’s a viral illness that impacts a dog’s villous atrophy and intestinal lining and causes vomiting, weight loss, bloody diarrhoea, dehydration and sadly, often death.

In a national survey by the University of Sydney involving over 500 Australian vets, it was found that over 20,000 dogs were diagnosed with CPV each year. Out of those affected, nearly half resulted in death.

The condition affects puppies between the age of six weeks and six months old, and it’s passed on through the faecal matter of dogs that have parvo. Because the bacteria can live in the ground for up to a year, almost any unvaccinated puppy is at risk in an area that has been frequented by dogs within that period.

Parvovirus is a killer, but there is a highly effective vaccination available that can significantly reduce the risk of it affecting your puppy. A vet can administer your dog’s first vaccination at between six and eight weeks old, another at 10-12 weeks, and a final one at 14-16 weeks. Within two weeks of the last parvo vaccination, your puppy will have full immunity.

Technology for canine vaccinations has grown in leaps and bounds in the last four decades, which means that pet owners can have full confidence in their vet to provide preventative measures.

While you wait for your dog to become fully vaccinated by 16 weeks of age, there are also things you can do to reduce your puppy’s risk of catching the viral illness. Limit their exposure to other puppies or unvaccinated dogs, and change your clothing and footwear if you are around other dogs before you head home to your dog. On wellness trips to the vet, carry your puppy in your arms, and on your lap while you wait for your appointment.

Common signs of parvo in young puppies include vomiting, foul-smelling diarrhoea, tiredness, and disinterest in play. If you notice any of these signs, or you have genuine concerns about the illness, seek vet care immediately.

Parvovirus is not a condition to take lightly as it claims thousands of puppies’ lives in Australia every year. If you are thinking about welcoming a new puppy into your home, make an appointment with your vet to get the vaccination process underway. A few quick vet trips could end up saving your dog’s life.