Canine Parvovirus (CVP) is the most common infectious disease found in
dogs. The puppies are more prone to this infection than adult dogs, as
they possess an immature immune system. Parvovirus grows in the rapidly
dividing cells, such as the cells of intestinal lining and causes
diarrhea and ulcerative enteritis. The diarrhea may consist of blood and
turn life threatening. All breeds of dog may get infected. However,
Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers are more susceptible to this
infection. This virus affects only dogs and is not transmitted to humans
or other species. The Parvovirus infection is transmitted through
fecal waste from an infected dog.
There are two forms of CVP such as diarrhea syndrome and cardiac
syndrome. Diarrhea syndrome has an incubation period of about 5-14 days.
The dog’s feces appear grayish, liquid and bloody. There is a rapid
dehydration due to continuous diarrhea and vomiting. Cardiac syndrome
affects puppies below three months old. The virus multiplies rapidly in
the muscle cells of immature heart of the puppies. The puppies stop
sucking and may die within few days.
Dog Parvo Symptoms The severity of disease depends upon the age of exposure, presence of
maternal antibody, size of the virus dose and the breed of the infected
dog. Some of the common dog Parvo symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and
lethargy. The dog stops eating and passes a liquid, bleeding and
foul-smelling stool. The symptoms generally start with a high fever,
depression, lethargy and loss of appetite. Secondary symptoms are severe
gastrointestinal distress such as bloody diarrhea and vomiting. In
several cases, dehydration, which is followed by shock and even death.
Symptoms of Intestinal Parvo: Intestinal Parvo is the
most common form of this disease. The virus is transmitted by ingestion
of contaminated feces and soil. This virus rapidly grows in the dog’s
lymphatic system. Then the virus is transmitted through the bloodstream
and attacks the rapidly dividing cells of intestinal lining. The
infected dog becomes week and lethargic. Uncontrolled vomiting and
severe diarrhea are the most significant symptoms of intestinal Parvo.
Due to continuous vomiting, the dog experiences bowel spasms even with
an emptied tract. The diarrhea is characterized by the bloody feces.
Symptoms of Cardiac Parvo: In some rare cases, the Parvovirus
directly attacks the tissues and vessels of the heart. It leads to
massive internal bleeding that in turn causes death. The cardiac form of
Parvovirus is transmitted to unborn puppies through an infected mother
while in the womb. The symptoms of cardiac Parvo appear very rapidly. It
can lead to congestive heart failure and sudden death of the dog.
The complications can occur after several months or years after the
apparent recovery. Puppies who survive from the Parvo infection remain
somewhat weak and unhealthy for whole life.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Dog Parvo Although the symptoms are suggestive of Parvo infection, an antibody
test namely Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) is suggested for a
correct diagnosis. This test detects the actual Parvovirus in the stool
sample of an infected dog.
The infected dog experiences extreme dehydration due to continuous
diarrhea and vomiting. The treatment for this infection includes IV or
sub-cutaneous fluids and antibiotics. Metoclopramide and
trimethobenzamide are given to relax the intestinal spasms. You can
protect your dog against this infection by the means of vaccination.