Parvo (and why we vaccinate)

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jeshykai's picture
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I see 2-3 parvo cases a night at work because the area I work in a lot of people don't understand what parvo is, how it is caught, and how it is spread.  Because people often get a dog and do not take it to the vet, they don't get told how to avoid their puppy getting it.

Parvo is a sad, serious, disease.  It starts with signs of an upset stomach... vomiting/diarrhea.. then quickly escalates into lethargy, really watery-"sick-smelling" stool.  Dogs need a strong antibiotic, an anti-nausea medication to help keep them from vomiting, fluid therapy with B-vitamins and potassium chloride.  If a dog is caught early enough, often times the out patient therapy (where the owner administers meds and fluids underneath the skin) is enough to help the puppy survive.  If the puppy is severe enough, hospitalization is often times the only means to attempt to save their life.  Not all puppies with treatment will survive.

Parvo is a disease that is caught by direct contact with an infected dog - and this puppy/dog may not even be showing signs of the illness yet - and through fecal-oral contamination.  The reason why puppies are often suggested to be quarantined in your backyard and only visit healthy, fully-vaccinated dogs' at their yards, is because parvo can live be in the stool or dirt shortly after a parvo-infected stool has been deposited.  We all know how puppies like to put everything in their mouth to sample.

No walks, no parks, no public places.  Puppy school's allow similar aged puppies into their classes that have started their boosters.  In general, this can be a safe practice depending on your area.

To properly build up the dog's immunity, the schedule of vaccinations is important to follow.  It is typically every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks of age.  At 16 weeks of age, the immunity will be built up enough for them to wait for a yearly booster.  If the proper protocol is not followed, they can equally be susceptible to disease.  If you don't do a yearly (or some hospitals now offer a 3 year vaccine) booster, they can have lowered immunity and be just as susceptible to it as a puppy would be.

Often times owners get confused and think one shot for the puppy is all it needs.. or that follow-up visits for the dogs life aren't necessary.

I know I've talked about this before, but I just wanted to reiterate it as it is so important.

If you want further reading on it, this link was fairly good: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_canine_par...

Joined: 2011-06-21

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I disagree with the walks & socialization. If you go to a really busy place where there are no dogs, no parvo. Imagine how you'd feel if you were locked up in your home with no exercise or stimulation for your first four months. It amazes me how people think you can just leave a dog at home during their most formative months, giving them no structured exercise or socialization & then they take the dog out for the first time & expect it to be perfectly fine.

Happydance's picture
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PBT, you obviously have never seen a puppy die of parvo. It is unbelievable agonizing for them. There are many things you can do with your pup on your own property to satisfy their needs.  It's just not worth the risk.  Parvo can be carried on human's shoes too via fecal matter.  When my min pin was a pup, there was parvo down the street.  I have kids in and out of my house all the time.  There was a bleach bucket and a towel soaked with it in front of the door for those that "forgot" to take off their shoes at the door.  It's nothing to mess around with.

jeshykai's picture
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PBT I am not posting this to argue. What are your credentials to tell people to risk the safety of their dog? You clearly do not understand what the disease is. Like Wendy said, if you saw parvo you would follow the proper protocol as suggested by the Veterinary Medical Association.

A young dogs energy requirement is not the same as an adult dog. Training in the yard, fetch and many other activities are plenty for a dog younger than 16 weeks old.

I have been a vet tech for 8 years, I am a biochemistry major who understands disease and immunities. I post these information bulletins so people can read and learn. I think you should review the link I shared and do further research on parvo. It's for your knowledge. If you choose to risk it with your dogs, no one can stop you.

Lady Kate's picture
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Bless you Jess.. you replied before I could go through spell check...

And thank you Wendy.. I was skimming as fast as I could so I could answer basically the same thing.

Sometimes I'm sure folks coming into this forum might think of us a overprotective.. to me.. there's no such thing.

We love our dogs PBT with all our hearts.. Some of us have rescued them, some of us show them, some of us just want to open a vein at times, but love them we do..

Never EVER take a chance.

Why?

What's the point?

I don't want to rant against raw.. you that are happy with it and think it's helping your dog, great, go for it... I will not chance either a blockage, ecoli or even an upset stomach. Why should I?

Sofia loves to run. Of course she does, but to let her off leash would be inviting trouble and possible injury.. Over protective? You bet I am..

Jess, your post is so helpful and I hope a new puppy owner will take heed. .Yes.. it seems a shame to let all that energy just fill a nice safe house.. or does it?

Now.. where's my RANT button?

bbroyles's picture
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PowerBreed - Perhaps you've never seen the harsh death of Parvo.

Patriot's picture
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Thanks for the info again, Jes.I for one have absolutely never taken any chances with my puppies anywhere in public until they are fully immunized.I don't care if they are bored to pieces!Thats why we are the masters.We are supposed to know better.And when it is time for them to safely go out in public,they do learn proper behavior and socialization skills.So far this formula has worked perfectly for the four dobermans I've had the privilege of caring for over the past 18 years.  

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I know that parvo is a powerful disease, and once contracted by a young puppy or an elderly dog who's immunities might be lower than they were a few years previously, it can be fatal.  I volunteered at my local Humane Society for awhile last summer, and they suspected a couple of the dogs that they had recently gotten custody of having parvo, and ALL sorts of preventions were made.  Like Wendy stated above, bleach in a pan with towels were put in every doorway, and you had to step in it to go in or to go out because the virus can be transmitted by fecal matter that accidentally might get on your shoes.  I did that, and had a special pair of old sneakers that I wore there and left them in a box outside my house when I came home, because I did NOT want my dogs to be exposed to anything, even if it hadn't been officially declared "parvo" and all my dogs had already had their shots.  I dont take chances like that.  When I first got Ziva, she didnt go ANYWHERE that any other dogs could have even possibly been, except for my own dogs that were innoculated against parvo.  When I took her to the vet's office, she sat on my lap, even at 25 pounds, because I was not about to let her come in contact with not only parvo, but any communicable diseases that travel around on the floor of the vet's office from sick dogs. 

Yes, I was over protective, also, and would be again and again with a puppy.  There are plenty of physical and mental exercises that can be done with a puppy before that 16-week mark that will keep it active, alert, entertained, and bonded to it's owner.  The first couple of months you bring a new puppy home should be spent on bonding and basic obedience anyway, not running it to the local dog park.

Jes, I most greatly appreciate your posts on what your experience has taught you, and I know that new people that come to this forum that dont have a clue as where to start when they bring home that little 8-week old dobie have an opportunity to LEARN and avoid mistakes that might not be able to be undone.

Thank you, Jes for your contributions to this site.  You are truly invaluable.

bbroyles's picture
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Life drains from a puppy with Parvo so quickly. The pup can barely stand or sit upright. It looses it's balance and is so weak and the progression is rapid! In the last 48 hours there is a dullness in the eyes. The dullness is death. The pup at this point has given up the will to live. And it's only a matter of hours.
Please do not ever advise anyone to expose a puppy to this, PowerBreeder!!! If you have never seen what Parvovirus can do, then thank your lucky stars. And take our advice! Protect them from parvo!

Jess, as always thanks for your post. I hope that anyone reading this thread will take it very seriously! I was in a hurry when I posted earlier, but wanted to return to say thanks! You give us that supportive medical backbone we all need from time to time!

bbroyles's picture
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Sorry for a third post, but as you can see I'm very passionate about protecting our dogs from the deadly virus! I just remembered something else that needs to be said, in order to stress just how horrible and powerful this virus can be.  

I have posted before on this topic.  I had two Doberman pups about 8 years ago.  They were littermates, one black and the other blue.  I never got a chance to learn about the problems of having littermates, other than the potty training.  The black died of parvo, the blue survived.  At the time of contraction, they were about 10 weeks and due their 3rd innoculation.  They both had been innoculated at 6 weeks and again at 8 weeks.   When they got sick one of the pups showed signs of runny stools about a day before the other. When the second pup had the same symptoms the next day, we went off to the emergency room.  On the drive to emergency I was pondering over again, "what is this?"  Then the brick hit! "Parvo!  Looks like it, feels like it.  No, No... cant be... they've both had two shots of the series, surely they are protected!"

The lab work came back positive on both.

Now here is the purpose in posting again, thinking on Ziva's Dad holding Ziva in his lap at the vet's, reminded me of something.  After these pups were diagnosed, I set out to find treatment, immediately.  

I was turned down by 3 vet clinics!  They would not treat Parvo!  Why?  Because it is that DEADLY and CONTAGIOUS  and they did not want to risk the infection of their clinics.

I did find a clinic that would treat.  Dancer and Tejas were hospitialized.  We went to visit them each day, before and after school.  One maintained and eventually showed signs of improvement, the blue.  The black pup never leveled out, she went down a bit more each day until the end. I can't remember exactly how long this took, but I'm pretty sure it was only 4-5 days.  It was a helpless, hopeless feeling of not being able to do anything, at any cost to save little Dancer.  She just couldn't fight it.  Tejas made it through the nightmare.  

I'll never know why this happened.  I do believe that Dobermans are more at risk than other dogs, except for the Rotties.   And Rotties, if I'm correct, are at the highest risk, even when innoculated.  Even when innoculated!

 We had lived in this home for about two and a half years at the time this occurred.  I've read that Parvo can exist on the ground up to 1-2 years.  But, we'd been there for two and a half.  So where did the virus come from? We had a kennel room off the garage with doggie doors, a prior storage room, and a long run area onto that. Our two Afghans had been in this area the entire time we lived there, prior to getting the Dobe pups.  The "floor plan" allowed me to leave the front entrance gate open.  So that the yard would have been accessible to loose, roaming dogs in the neighborhood.  I think that must have been the way the virus came to my property.  Loose, roaming dogs.  Bless their hearts for being allowed to roam and be uncared for.  One of the kids in the neighborhood had told me during this nightmare of Parvo, that he knew of a dog in our area that had died of Parvo a short time before we went through the Parvo trauma.

My heart goes out to all the uncared for dogs,  and even when you think you are doing all you can, there are situations that you either don't think of or are uncontrollable. 

Lady Kate - Hope your educational event went well in Baja!    

jeshykai's picture
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Oh Barb, I am so sorry you had to suffer through this.

Education is key and even then, the unforeseen can hit us.

I lost a sweet little rottie pup to parvo last week.. The owners didn't know, it was their first dog. All they did was take her to play with a family members dog.. Who hadn't been vaccinated.. I was do sorry for them.

bbroyles's picture
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Yes, Jess, That's all it takes!  Perfect example of why we must educate each other to the dangers that exist for our beloved dogs.

 Jess    "I see 2-3 parvo cases a night at work because the area I work in a lot of people don't understand what parvo is, how it is caught, and how it is spread.  Because people often get a dog and do not take it to the vet, they don't get told how to avoid their puppy getting it."

That's insane, but it is what it is.  Most of those are preventable! 

 

Legend of Zelda's picture
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Jes, I'm so sorry to hear about that poor rottie pup. :(

Barb, I'm sorry you went through parvo first-hand.

No dog needs to experience such horrible, painful disease...

sweetpea's picture
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Thanks for your post, Jess.  Your knowledge and experience are truly valuable and always appreciated. 

blue4's picture
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Just what Sweetpea said...

thanks Jes - you're a busy lady and we're glad you take time for us!

chris b.'s picture
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I know I'm late chiming in on this, but (whine)I've been busy. I'll try to keep this short.  When I got my first dobe (as an adult), he was red, his name was Max, my sister in law and I went together, she also got a pup.  She had lost her first Dobe pup to parvo, a week or 2 before this.  I picked her up at her house, we went and got 2 puppies, I took her home, never going into her house with Max.  Week or so later, her pup died and Max got sick.  Max spent 2 weeks in the hospital and it cost us a couple of hundred dollars. Now, factor in it was 1981.  This was the first I had ever heard of Parvo.  Poor Max was so sick, the vet called me one night, about 8pm, told me Max wasn't doing well and could I mix up some Puppy chow and bring it out to him.  It was January in upstate NY, I had a 5 month old baby, and my husband was at work!.. Okay, bundle up baby, drop him at a friends house and go hand feed this poor puppy. oh, and it was snowing really bad out.  Max survived with no lasting side effects, his ears were cropped at 12 weeks, so one never did stand completelly straight, but he was the best friend that little boy ever had.  He lived to be 11 years old and died of cardo-myopithy  (jess, corrrect my spelling). 

Even when I got these 2, 7 years ago the vet never said to keep them home until they had all the parvo shots, what a great idea. 

Thanks Jess, for the nice post, keep up the good work    

jeshykai's picture
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It's so frustrating when vets don't share the basics with people. It'd save a lot of heartache if everyone were on the same page.

I'm so glad your pup pulled through! He was lucky to have you give him thR TLC that often gives them strength.

I think it is cardiomyopoathy, but even I can't spell everything! ;)

bbroyles's picture
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Please continue to post Parvo stories, no matter about how "late" you might be. It's not going to be too late for the dog we save because a new owner happened to read this thread.

Young_Titus's picture
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Wow, well I'm glad for the heads up on this one! !  I was making plans to show my puppy off in person, I have different plans now for those first two months he is with me (i get him at about 8weeks old from breeder).

Whether or not the breeder is going to educate me or put this information in the packet is besides the point. This sounds serious enough that it should have it's own awareness bumper sticker! Right beside "Save the Ta Ta's!"

thank you Dobe Fam! (and jesh for your expertise!)

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Thanks Jess, for your stories and experience.

For the first 2 months that we had Skye, she was only allowed in our yard and our neighbors yard... he's a vet tech and has redone his whole yard, put in a fence, and has two pups about the same age as Skye... When we took her to the vet for those first two months... Skye wore plastic booties and they came off and were thrown away before we got into the car.

It's thanks to you Jess that I was able to save my sweetheart from this deadly beast. Three pups ended up dieing from parvo because they walked through the parking lot @ the vet.