Ten Things You May Not Know About Parvo

Here are 10 facts about Parvo that may surprise you...

1. Parvovirus can remain infective within an environment for up to 10 months. Infected dogs shed the virus in their feces prior to clinical signs, leading to inadvertent environmental contamination.

2. The incubation period for parvo can be up to 2 weeks.

3. The parvovirus can attack a dog's heart, leading to sudden death.

4. Cats have their own parvovirus that causes a similar disease as that seen in dogs. It is known as panleukopenia.

5. A false positive parvo test can occur if a dog has recently been vaccinated for parvo, beginning 5 days from the date of vaccination and lasting 7 to 10 days.

6. Transfusions using blood, plasma, or serum filled with parvo antibodies can greatly increase parvo treatment survival rates.

7. Severe dehydration and secondary bacterial infections (endotoxemia) account for most deaths associated with the virus; as a result, fluid support and antibiotics are needed in all cases. Ideally, this fluid support should be given intravenously; however, if this is not practical, veterinarians often prescribe subcutaneous fluids to be given beneath the skin.

8. Vaccinating a puppy less than 8 weeks of age with the parvo vaccine can inactivate protective antibodies the puppy received from its mother's milk, making the puppy more susceptible to the disease.

9. For dogs that survive a parvo infection, immunity is long-term and may last a lifetime without subsequent vaccinations.

10. The mortality rate of parvo is not as great as it was when the virus first appeared on the scene in 1978. Even so, the mortality rate can still be as high as 30%, even with aggressive treatment.

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