Pet Health Tips, Pet Products
Michigan Dog Illness Mystery Solved
October 27, 2022
What is Parvovirus?Canine parvovirus burst onto the veterinary scene in 1979. At that time, there was no parvovirus in dogs. It appeared that it may have originated from a mutation of the cat virus, panleukopenia. There was no canine parvovirus vaccine available for the first two years after the mutation occurred. Without a vaccine available, an untold numbers of dogs were left vulnerable. Even dogs who came into veterinary clinics with other disorders contracted the virus and quickly died. The symptoms of parvovirus in dogs are lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools, and profoundly low white blood cell counts.
Can a Vaccinated Dog Get Parvo?If dogs are fully vaccinated against canine parvovirus, they are typically protected against severe illness, but it is always important to talk to your dog’s veterinarian. Canine parvovirus is not contagious to people or other species of domestic animals. This evolving situation with the Michigan dog illness is a reminder of the importance of up-to-date canine vaccination. When it comes to parvo vaccination for puppies and dogs, it is important to always consult with your dog’s veterinarian. If you need help finding the right vaccine for your dog use Revival’s Vaccine Finder. This is a free tool to help determine the best dog vaccine for your pet.
How to Protect Your Puppy From ParvoAdditional recommendations for how to protect your dog from parvo is to:
- Avoid allowing young dogs, under 18 weeks of age who have not completed their vaccine series to be exposed to other dogs and areas frequented by other dogs. This means to stay home from doggie daycare, dog parks, dog training classes and grooming facilities. If possible, carry your puppy in and out of the veterinary clinic to minimize exposure.
- Keep up with routine dog vaccinations. Make sure your dog is vaccinated against canine parvovirus, rabies, canine distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis.
- If you live in an area where sick dogs are located, your veterinary professional may recommend an additional parvovirus vaccination to maximize protection. There are vaccines on the market that are parvovirus only.
- Booster adult dogs who are exposed to other dogs at areas where parvovirus may spread.
- If your dog is not a good candidate for a booster, ask your veterinary professional to run a blood test called a titer for parvovirus and distemper virus to assess the need for a booster.
- Keep elderly dogs or dogs with chronic illnesses that could make them more likely to pick up a virus from areas frequented by other dogs.
- Keep your dogs up to date on their monthly heartworm preventives that also include products to control intestinal parasites. These parasites can allow other diseases such as viruses to take hold and make an otherwise healthy dog sick.
- Pick up your dog’s feces to limit exposure to other dogs. Parvovirus is thought to live in the environment for extended periods of time. Many disinfectants including bleach can kill viruses but it is not possible to disinfect soft surfaces such as grass, furniture and carpet.