Parvovirus is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease that can become a life-threatening illness. The Parvovirus attacks rapidly dividing cells throughout the body and affects the intestinal tract. This virus also attacks the white blood cells and when animals are young, this can affect and damage the heart muscles and cause lifelong heart problems. The Parvovirus is most commonly spread through feces and can live in the environment for months or even over a year in the right conditions. This virus affects both young dogs and unvaccinated dogs, both of which are fatal and since Parvo is a viral disease, there is no cure. The most common symptoms of the Parvovirus may include vomiting, diarrhea (may be bloody), lethargy, pain, dehydration, sepsis and death.
Parvovirus is a preventable illness and all dog owners need to understand the fatality of this virus if their pet is not vaccinated. Vaccines are available at every vet clinic and the Parvo vaccine is part of routine vaccinations for all puppies and dogs.
When introducing a new puppy/dog to a new environment, precautions should be taken, whether the area has contained an infected dog or not. No environment is free from the Parvovirus unless it is regularly disinfected. There are ways to disinfect areas indoors and outdoors. There are great tips for disinfection located here: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=579.
As a pet owner, we all want our pets to be healthy and free of disease/viruses. Please keep your pets up to date on all vaccinations and make sure to make those yearly appointments. As we all know, pets can't talk to let us know if they don't feel good or if they are in pain. One trip to the vet clinic could save your pet.