Parvo – FAQs

Few friends have been asking various questions about parvo. I decided to make an endeavour to compile an article covering FAQs about Parvo. I requested my veterinary friends to help me in this. I am thankful to Vet Dr. Akmal Rana (Islamabad), Vet Dr. Akhlaq Kashfi (Islamabad) and Vet Dr. Rachel Peeples (DVM, USA) for guiding me in detail about this subject. With out their help I could not have been able to compile these FAQs. Internet is also consulted in this regard. Mostly vaccine brands are not mentioned in such articles. But I mentioned the names for easy understanding.

Please read following FAQs carefully to know about Parvo. Ask more questions to make this article even more beneficial. And those who feel that some thing is incorrect or the article needs some improvement can always suggest that. Corrections and additions are most welcome.

What vaccination, if given to the Dam before mating, can create immunity in the litter against Parvo?

It is good to vaccinate the dam before she comes on heat, if you want to get her mated, so that the pups are born with strong immunity. The pups need to nurse well with in the first 24-48 hours to get the antibodies in the colostrum.

Which vaccine shall be used to the pups to protect them from parvo and at what age? Please mention the name and brand of the vaccine.

If the dam is vaccinated and the pups have had the dams milk for one month or so then 1st shot goes at the age of 6 weeks, not before 6 weeks, other wise you will be destroying the pups immunity which he has got from the dam through milk. Primodog is the best puppy shot for this age. This is a French vaccine from Merial. The common mistake which the vets make is that they use Duramune-7 as a 1st shot. This does not give enough protection against Parvo since Duramune-7 is also covering couple of other diseases. At 6 weeks there might be some maternal antibodies in the pup, so when duramune-7 is given, there is a battle between the vaccine and maternal antibodies. As a result of this fight, a part of protection against Parvo given by duramune-7 is destroyed. Now, the protection given by Primodog vaccine is much more than the one given by duramune-7, so after the Primodog vaccine, if the part of immunity is lost as discussed above, even then the pup has enough protection to pull him through the three weeks till the 2nd shot. So Duramune-7 should be used as the 2nd and 3rd shot.

If the Dam is healthy, vaccinated, and nursed the pups well vaccinations should start at age of 6-8 weeks and be given every 3 weeks with the last booster given after 15-16 weeks of age.

In what age bracket a pup is most vulnerable to parvo?

Age of 6weeks to 6-7 months are crucial. From birth until the last booster is given around 15 weeks of age is most vulnerable bracket.

Up till what age a dog can catch parvo?

The dog can get PARVO at any age if the immunity is low but the older dogs have less tendency of getting it. As per many veterinary doctors the oldest dog seen with confirmed parvo is of 14 months of age in case of unvaccinated dogs. Pups which have completed the vaccination series (last one at
age 15 weeks) seldom get Parvo.

How to disinfect a place which contained a parvo infected dog?

‘Veticide Plus’ is a good virucidle.
Canine parvo virus is not like distemper virus. Canine parvovirus is not environment bound like distemper virus. It is readily carried on shoes or clothing to new areas. It can survive freezing temperatures in the ground during winter, plus many household disinfectants are not capable of killing it indoors.

As parvo is a very tough virus to destroy, many people want to know exactly what they must do to disinfect an area that has contained an infected dog or how long they must wait before safely introducing a new dog to a previously contaminated area.

As per my knowledge Infected dogs shed virus (in their stool) in great amounts during the 2 weeks after getting infected. Because such enormous amounts of virus are shed, there is a HUGE potential for environmental contamination when an infected dog has been there. It is important to realize as the parvo virus is very tough to be killed NO ENVIRONMENT shall be considered free from this virus unless it is regularly disinfected.

A parvo infection can be picked up ANYWHERE although it is easier to pick up an infection in an area where an infected dog has been simply because of the larger amounts of virus in a contaminated area.

Decontamination of the infected area can be done as follows:-
Indoor decontamination: 
Indoors, the virus loses its infectivity within one month; therefore, it should be safe to introduce a new puppy indoors one month after the active infection has ended.

Outdoor decontamination:
If no decontaminating steps have been taken the:-
1. Shaded areas should be considered contaminated for 7 months.
2. Areas with good sunlight exposure should be considered contaminated for 5 months.
If you want to know how to create a safer environment for the other dogs at a previously infected place then I can give you some tips.

Despite the introduction of new cleaners with all sorts of claims, parvovirus remains virtually impossible to completely remove from an environment. The goal of decontamination is to reduce the number of viral particles to an acceptable level. The best and most effective disinfectant against viruses (including parvovirus) is BLEACH.

One part bleach is mixed with 30 parts water and is applied to bowls, floors, surfaces, toys, bedding, and anything contaminated. At least 10 minutes of contact time with the bleach solution is needed to kill the virus. Steam cleaning is also able to kill the virus.

Bleach completely kills parvovirus.

Disinfection with bleach becomes problematic at places such as carpet or lawn. Because bleach will change their colours. If good drainage is available, thorough watering down of the area may dilute any virus present. Since carpet is indoors, it is best to simply wait for sufficient time for the virus to die off before allowing any puppies access to the area. Or else carpet can be sent for a wash.

No such measures for the soil/dirt are suggested because dirt/soil are strongly friendly to parasite eggs and viral particles as it in-activates the strongest of disinfectants in as little as 1/4 inch of soil. All dirt/soil shall be assumed as contaminated.

What can be extra measures to protect pups from parvo?

It is noticed by veterinary doctors that mostly the puppies of dams on commercial foods are more prone to parvo and other problems. Extra protective measures can be like Good nutrition, good parasite control, prevent exposure to sick animals or places where sick animals may have been until the vaccination protocol is completed.

How to take care of a parvo infected pup?

Rush to the Vet with the parvo pup, get him on intravenous fluids, tell your Vet to start the immunoglobolins right away. This is an injection used to develop passive immunity in dogs for the treatment and prophylaxis. This is available in the market by the name of CANGLOB. Lahore vet university lab is also making such product. How effective is it? I really don’t know. But Canglob really works good and fast. You can also do one thing in summer Parvo months, if your pup is not eating and you suspecting something fishy like parvo, keep canglob at hand, give your pup a shot of Canglob intra venous, subcut or intramus. This will produce a passive immunity for 5 days. Then rush to your Vet.

Parvo boils down to a race between the immune system and the virus. What we do to take care of parvo is support the body and help prevent secondary complications such as dehydration and bacterial infections. Dehydration can be tricky to prevent as often times oral ingestion is not possible. Subcutaneous and even intravenous fluids are often needed. Antibiotics are also given to protect against secondary infections. With the recent availability of antivirals success rate is good IF the parvo is caught/diagnosed early to weaken the parvo virus shortening the time and lessening the severity of disease.

What are the signs which can tell an owner that his pup has got parvo?

Signs of Parvo are very high fever, not eating, vomiting, loose bowels and very offensive odour. Initial signs are a depressed puppy who is no longer eating and then no longer drinking. This then progresses to vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Any puppy not feeling good and not eating for more than 12-24 hours warrants an immediate trip to the vet.

What all health problems can get confused with parvo? The problems which look like parvo but actually they are not.

Corona virus can get confused with parvo.

If it is confirm that some puppy has got parvo, what are the first aid measures till the time pup reaches some veterinary help?

Before you get hold of a Vet, try some raw egg white mixed with honey. This gives your pup a lot of boost and coats the internal lining of the stomach. This stops vomiting.

In how many days a parvo infected pup will recover from parvo if it has survived the attack?

Recovery period is 1week.

How to take care of the health of a pup which has survived parvo and has become very weak?

Don’t give milk initially after the disease is over. Start with boiled chicken. This is easily digestible.

Can a puppy get parvo infection after surviving it once?

The bad point about parvo is that many dogs that contract Parvovirus die. The good point about parvo is that dogs that do not die they usually do not suffer from parvo again.

Although there are no 100% guarantees about anything in this world, but I can tell you that it is extremely unlikely that a dog which survived parvo virus could contact parvo again. Most dogs that live through parvo develop permanent immunity. Many also consider immunity lifelong after the round of puppy vaccinations and booster at 12-18 months of age.

Can dog live a normal healthy life after surviving parvo just like other dogs?

A dog which has survived parvo can live a very normal and healthy life afterwards. Parvo virus is just an ailment like other ailments. It is just a sickness. Nothing more. Infew cases it was found that the pups which suffered from parvo tend to lag a bit behind those pups who did not have parvo by 2-4 weeks in physical and mental development, often up to a year of age. Up till the age of 1 year they will catch up with the pups which did not catch parvo. Long-term health problems due to parvo inparvo survivors are never observed. They grow up to be normal, strong, healthy dogs if every thing else went fine.

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