Recently, the Doctors at Best Friends Animal Hospital have seen a concerning trend of canine parvovirus cases. At this time, there have been 10 positives tests during the week of October 7 – October14. Canine parvovirus is an extremely contagious viral disease in dogs that most often manifests as vomiting and diarrhea. It is transmitted between unvaccinated dogs in fluids and feces. For unvaccinated dogs, the resulting infection can be life threatening. Conversely, dogs w/ up-to-date vaccines almost never show signs of the disease. Some breeds including Rottweiler, Doberman pinscher, pit bull, German shepherd and Labradors have been reported to be more susceptible.
Recommendations for owners vary based on the pet’s situation.
Vaccination – This is the best way to fight the disease. Generally, vaccinations should begin at 6-9 weeks of age. They should have a series of 3-4 booster vaccines during this time. Vaccines should then be administered annually. The parvovirus vaccine is certainly a case where” an ounce of prevention is would a pound of cure” as the cost of treating an infected dog can exceed $1000. It is important to remember that a vaccine won’t be protective for at least 3 weeks.
If your dog is unvaccinated or the vaccines are not up to date, then we can help develop a plan for each case. A thorough physical exam should be performed. If the dog is deemed healthy and there is no recent exposure to an infected dog, then a vaccine should be administered. However, if there is recent exposure or the patient has an elevated temperature, then a discussion of risks and an individualized plan should be developed. Dogs with weakened immune systems or other medical concerns should also have an individualized plan made to determine the safest plan.
If you have a dog that has been infected, there are some procedures to follow which can help minimize infection to other dogs. Parvovirus infection peaks in the first week of infection and is shed into the environment at this time, however, it can be shed in large amounts for up to 2 weeks. During this time, strict isolation is recommended. Reports indicated that parvovirus can survive in the environment for up to a year.
Cleaning is best done using bleach. A 1:30 ratio of bleach is recommended for the cleaning of any objects or surfaces that the infected dog contacted. Don’t forget to clean your shoes!!
Generally, no new puppies should be brought into an infected environment for at least 6 months.
If you are concerned that your dog may be infected, please call and we can help guide you through this disease. Often times, beginning with a simple test of the feces can give us an early answer.