As summer starts to crank up in Tucson like a slow speed hair dryer, people are on the move. Our kids are let out of school and into various summer camps and activities. After U of A graduation, many students and winter visitors scramble out of town for places cooler and greener. At veterinary clinics across town, case loads usually slow down for a week or two as people’s attention is focused on other priorities, but every year at this time new cases of Parvo are occurring every day.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious intestinal virus that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea in young dogs, and in many cases can lead to death or euthanasia. The frustrating aspect of this disease is that despite the efficacy of proper vaccination, many young dogs are unprotected and exposed to Parvo needlessly. While we have recognized that adult dogs do not need annual re-vaccination for Parvo or Distemper, the need for isolation and immunization of all of our newest puppies is still not understood by some new dog parents.
A few tips on preventing parvoviral infection in your new puppy:
- avoid public areas such as dog parks, pet stores and contact with unknown animals until your puppy has finished his vaccine series
- if you are bringing a new puppy into an environment that has been exposed to parvo previously, assume that the virus is still viable. Bleach all hard surfaces including the yard, wash all bedding and furniture. Be certain that your new puppy has had a minimum of 2 vaccines (8 and 12 weeks of age) prior to entering your home. Consider adopting an adult dog with a mature immune system.
- Vaccinate your puppy starting at 8 weeks of age and complete the recommended vaccine series. Be sure the final vaccine is given after 16 weeks of age.
- Our recommendation is to have vaccinations done by a veterinarian. Vaccine manufactures guarantee their product only if given by a veterinarian at appropriate intervals. In the unlikely event of infection, they will compensate the owner for treatment.
There are many causes of vomiting and diarrhea in a young dog and most of them are not as serious as parvo. If your puppy shows any sign of gastrointestinal illness, contact us or your veterinarian as soon as possible. The best prognosis for parvo infection is early and aggressive intervention.