Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is a serious and highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness often leading to long term health problems or death. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems.

Symptoms

Anorexia, depression and fever, progressing to vomiting and diarrhoea (often bloody). Dogs with Parvovirus become dehydrated and weak. Gums may become darker (dark pink/red) than normal and the heart rate is elevated.  It is most commonly seen in puppies (6 weeks – 6 months) or elderly dogs.

Causes

The cause of canine Parvovirus disease is a highly contagious DNA-containing virus. There are currently two types prevalent in the UK, namely CPV-2a and CPV-2b. The virus is transmitted through the mouth or nose from faeces. CPV can be passed out in the faeces of a dog within 3-4 days after infection and before clinical signs are seen.

Canine Parvovirus is a hardy virus that persists for long periods of time (up to a year) in the environment. The virus particles can be easily spread by hands, shoes and clothing.

Infection normally occurs following direct contact with an infected dog. However, large concentrations of the virus are found in an infected dog’s faeces, so a dog may still become infected by sniffing an infected dog’s faeces, even if the bulk of the stool has been cleared up.

The incubation period for Parvo is 7-14 days, which means that, should your Little Rascals puppy show signs of the virus within two to three weeks of sale, it should be reported without delay to North Kesteven council, the RSPCA and @ParvoAlert