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Parvo Virus

The Importance of Vaccinations

Vaccination is the only way to protect your puppies and dogs against Parvo Virus. Fully vaccinated pets, cannot get Parvo Virus. It is important to understand a dog is not fully vaccinated, until they have received 2 DHPP vaccines after the age of 12 weeks, 3-4 weeks apart. Vaccinations should start when your pup is 6-8 weeks of age.

Keeping Your
Pet Safe

Quarantining your new puppy is the only way to keep them safe from this disease until they are fully vaccinated. This means no trips to the beach, no walking them outside, no taking them to friends, and only taking them outside the house to their appointments for vaccinations. In fact, unless you have a fully fenced in yard – where no unknown dogs can get, your puppy should not even be allowed in your own yard until they are fully vaccinated.

Parvo – Lurking in Our Environment

Parvo Virus is an extremely contagious virus, that is very common in Turks and Caicos. The virus is shed in the stool and oral secretions of dogs that have been exposed, and therefore it is in our environment throughout the country. It is a strong virus, and sunlight does not kill it – only powerful cleaning agents such as bleach and Trifectant are capable of destroying the virus on surfaces. Because it exists in our soil, dogs are often exposed just by being outside. We also find that there is often a spike in cases after rainfall. 

How the Disease Presents and Progresses

The first sign of the disease is often a lack of appetite, followed by diarrhea and or vomiting. The combination of the heat here and water loss from vomiting and diarrhea, leads to severe dehydration quite quickly. The virus then destroys the villi of the small intestine, which is where nutrients are absorbed, and also depletes the immune system’s ability to fight infection. As the disease progresses, which is lightning fast, the dogs are extremely painful and can develop bacterial sepsis. Even with intensive therapy, most unvaccinated pets will die within hours to days.

Treatment Options

Treatment is aimed at maintaining hydration, feeding the gut and managing nausea, pain and preventing sepsis. It is often only effective, if the patient is brought in at the first sign of illness.  Hospitalized patients are typically on intravenous (IV) fluids, antibiotics, antinausea and pain medications as they are not able to eat. In addition, many will get a feeding tube to deliver nutrition without them having to ingest it. Because these patients are so very contagious, they need to be kept in an isolation ward and handled very carefully.  Outpatient treatment is possible in some cases, but does not typically have the same outcome. 

Starting Off from the Best Place

Puppies that were born from mothers that were properly vaccinated and current on their DHPP vaccine start out on the right foot. Those that have started their vaccinations series before exposure, and have a properly vaccinated mother will have some immunity against Parvovirus and therefore have a fighting chance of surviving the disease. 

The puppies that come from unvaccinated or limited vaccination status mothers, and or have not been vaccinated themselves have a very poor chance of survival and often succumb to the disease within hours to days of symptoms starting. 

Planning Ahead for Healthy Pets

If you are planning to get a puppy, plan ahead and do your research! Ask the breeder to show you vaccination records on the mother and the pups, prepare an area in the house where the puppy is to stay and quarantine away from the outdoors until they are about 15-16 weeks old, budget for their preventative care to get them fully vaccinated and get them booked in for their first vaccinations at 6-8 weeks of age. And if you have questions, give us a call!

Planning Ahead for Healthy Pets

Prevention is fairly inexpensive and should be a planned cost when you choose to purchase a puppy. The initial puppy visit at Bark and Bliss is $105 and includes their first exam by a veterinarian, their first DHPP vaccine, intestinal parasite dewormer and heartworm prevention, as well as flea and tick prevention. Ongoing vaccine appointments are $27 per vaccine. The cost of treatment for Parvovirus is at a minimum $200-300 for mild cases, and $1200-$4000 for the intensive cases with no guarantee of survival.