Most dog owners have heard about canine parvovirus. Puppy owners are especially afraid of this disease and panic at the very thought of it. Luckily, preventing parvovirus is possible with the vaccination, but a lot of owners are uninformed and fear vaccines.
Keep reading if you want to find out more about this potentially deadly illness and how to prevent it.
Myth: Adult dogs can’t get sick with parvovirus
Although parvovirus is indeed more severe with puppies, adults can get sick from it. Your puppy’s immune system isn’t strong enough to fight off this virus. However, on rare occasions, adult dogs can still get seriously ill from it. In the most extraordinary circumstances, the illness can even end in death. The dog’s age does not protect against this disease.
Myth: You can tell if a dog is sick by looking at it
If this were true, it would make everything easier for both veterinarians and pet owners. However, even though shedding is one of the symptoms of parvovirus, it occurs up to two weeks after infestation.
Sick puppies can look just the same as healthy ones. When you start noticing signs, it’s usually already too late. It is extremely tough to determine which dog is sick and which is healthy without testing.
Myth: Your dog is protected after the first vaccine
A single shot usually is not enough to fully protect your puppy from canine parvovirus. Puppies should take the vaccine three times, ideally when they are eight, 12, and 16 weeks of age.
Only after all three vaccines is your puppy truly protected. Anything less than that, and your dog might still contract this deadly virus.
Myth: You should trust the breeder when they claim the puppy had all shots
Breeders do not always have the best interest of the puppy in mind.
The truth is, the vaccination process is not as straightforward as one would think. Commonly, breeders will vaccinate the puppy before they sell it to their new owner.
However, this is only the first of three necessary shots, which means your puppy is not immune to the disease.
Myth: If I keep my puppy away from other dogs, he can’t contract parvovirus
Keeping your new puppy isolated for the first several months is a good prevention measure.
However, parvovirus can survive for months in the soil. If the infected dog has defecated or vomited, your dog can get sick from walking on that spot. This is possible when your puppy licks his paws or licks the ground.
It would be best if you always vaccinated your dog. This is the only way you can be sure that you have done every necessary step to prevent parvovirus.
Myth: A negative test is a sure sign that the dog isn’t sick
Test for canine parvovirus is an excellent way to find out whether your dog is sick or healthy. Most veterinary clinics always have pre-prepared tests, as this virus is relatively common.
However, it can have unsatisfactory results. For example, a freshly vaccinated pup can cause a false positive test. This is somewhat rare, but it can happen.
On the other hand, if the puppy got sick recently, the test may be negative despite the virus being present. If you notice symptoms of parvovirus, such as vomiting or diarrhea, you should still keep your puppy hospitalized.
Myth: Canine parvovirus is always fatal
Luckily, this myth is also false. With the development of modern medicine, veterinarians have found several successful ways to fight parvo. This is usually done with the help of drugs that prevent vomiting, as dehydration is the common cause of death. With aggressive therapy in pet hospitals, 68 to 92% of dogs can be cured.
However, if discovered late, parvovirus is usually fatal. As parvo is a virus that you can easily prevent, it is better not to have to cure it.
The most secure way to protect your puppy from parvovirus is to vaccinate your puppy. Puppies younger than six weeks will have strong immunity from their mother. Anything later than that demands the vaccine. It would be ideal to vaccinate your dog three times, as we’ve already mentioned. Only this way you can be confident that your dog is safe.
Another prevention measure is to distance your puppy from an unvaccinated dog. It would be ideal if you could keep your pup away from any place where other canines tend to defecate. This is especially true for unvaccinated puppies or puppies who haven’t received their third shot.
Of course, you can and should still socialize your pup in a safe place. Make your home a small playground where you’d bring vaccinated dogs so your puppy can learn to behave. Puppies can’t get sick from thin air, and spending time at home with healthy dogs can be beneficial.