Parvovirosis in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment of Dog Disease

Among the most common and highly contagious viral diseases is the parvovirus in the dog. The symptoms can sometimes be very violent and lead to death especially in puppies. Find out what you can do and what to look for.

The parvovirus is known in the dog since 1978. The virus attacks preferably young or weakened animals that have no pronounced defenses. Especially when dogs are not vaccinated, the disease has easy game and the symptoms are usually much worse.

Cause and infection with dog searching

The Hundeseuche or Parvovirose is triggered in dogs, but also other animals such as cats, by viruses from the family Parvoviridae. Four parvoviruses are known today, which can be dangerous for dogs. The original strain CPV-2 was isolated in 1978 in the USA. However, researchers soon discovered two other variants, designated 2a and 2b. Meanwhile, a fourth mutation of CPV-2 has been discovered: 2c is also found worldwide.

Even if you notice no symptoms in other dogs, your pet may get infected with the virus. The virus is transmitted, for example, via food that is contaminated with feces, or through body secretions such as saliva, vomit and urine. The parvoviruses are highly resistant and can survive up to six months outside the host. Only special disinfectants can turn off the pathogens of parvovirus.

The symptoms of parvovirus in the dog

Only about 10 percent of the affected animals actually have symptoms, which makes the disease particularly insidious. Even though they seem healthy, they can carry the virus and infect others with it. The incubation period is 2-3 days. First symptoms usually appear between the 4th and 7th day.

These include high fever or low temperature, vomiting, watery and sometimes bloody diarrhea and fatigue and refusal to eat. A particularly difficult course can lead to death within 24 hours. This often occurs when the sick dog is still very young, not vaccinated or already struck by pre-existing conditions. The virus attacks the heart muscle and causes inflammation. This leads to an accumulation of water in the lungs and heart failure.

Health precaution

Vaccinations for the dog: Which are useful?

Vaccinations for the dog: Which are useful?

Look at Can the viral disease be treated?

With early detection and treatment the parvovirosis in the dog usually takes between 12 and 25 days with or without symptoms. A clear diagnosis can only be made by a veterinarian using a test. A stool sample will be taken and tested for CPV-2. If the findings are clear, the virus can only be treated in a very limited way. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, interferons or other antibodies are administered. Antibiotics are also used.

To compensate for the enormous fluid loss, regular infusions must be performed. Often, the dog is also deprived of the food to prevent renewed vomiting and to protect the affected intestinal tract. The dog should also be isolated to avoid infection. For humans, however, the virus is not dangerous.

Benefits of a parvovirus vaccine

While vaccination will not protect your dog from parvovirus infection, studies have shown that the disease and its symptoms are less severe if the animal is vaccinated as a puppy. It is recommended a vaccination from the 4th week of life.

You can choose between different methods: dead vaccines often do not provide sufficient resistance to the infection. These inactive vaccines have a shorter vaccine protection than live vaccines. In Germany, therefore, attenuated, ie attenuated active vaccines are usually used. These have good immunization properties, but do not weaken the dogs. They should be refreshed every 3 years.