What is Canine Parvovirus?

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Preventing ‘parvo’ means saving dogs’ lives

Summertime means more time outdoors and walks with our pets. But the warmer months are also when dogs are at higher risk of contracting canine parvovirus.

Although it’s not a seasonal disease, the incidence of ‘parvo’ seems to increase during the warmer months, when the Cape of Good Hope SPCA sees an increase in cases.

A highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, it is unvaccinated dogs and puppies who are most at risk.

It is shed in the faeces of infected dogs and attacks the lining of the small intestine.

It is important to understand that direct dog-to-dog contact is not needed in order for a dog to contract parvovirus.

It’s infectious enough to be transferred simply by walking on a property on which an infected dog has lived!

You can even spread the virus through the soles of your shoes.

Symptoms of parvovirus

Although these symptoms could also point to other diseases, the following symptoms are typical of parvo:

· Vomiting

· Bloody diarrhoea

· Stomach pain

· Lethargy

· Decreased appetite

· Fever

Persistent vomiting and diarrhoea can cause severe dehydration, shock and even death – so if your dog displays any of these symptoms, contact your nearest vet immediately or bring him to the SPCA Animal Hospital for help.

Prevent parvo

Your best defence against this potentially fatal disease is vaccination. Here are a few tips to boost your prevention efforts:

· Ensure your puppy or dog is FULLY vaccinated (see below).

· Do not walk your puppy until she’s fully vaccinated.

· When taking your dog for a walk, be responsible and dispose of his faeces to reduce environmental contamination.

· Wash your dog’s bedding, leashes regularly – and wash pet bowls every day.

Fully vaccinated means:

    1. First vaccination: 6 – 8 weeks. This is a 5-in-1 and includes Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Parainfluenza.
    2. Second vaccination: 10 – 12 weeks. This is another 5-in-1 and if the puppy is 12 weeks old the first Rabies vaccination can be given.
    3. Third vaccination: 14 – 16 weeks.

Contact the SPCA if you need any advice about your dog – and cat’s – vaccination schedule.

Call 021 700 4190

Preventing parvo means saving dogs lives

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