As pet owners we know that annual vaccinations are important, and that they help protect our pets from serious illnesses. But do we understand the passion behind our Veterinary clinic staff’s voices when they recommend we get our dog vaccinated? Ever wonder what is involved if your dog picks up a disease such as Parvovirus?
Veterinarian Cath Picard shares why she strongly recommends your dog is vaccinated.
One of the vaccinations we give your dog helps to prevent Parvovirus, a serious illness that can kill your pet. The virus is highly resistant and stable in the environment for months to years. This means if a dog has parvovirus infection and contaminates the environment, any unvaccinated dogs that are exposed to that environment are at risk of contracting it!
How do I know if my dog has Parvo?
Dogs with Parvo can display a number of symptoms. The biggest indicator is bloody diarrhoea, but they may vomit, become lethargic, stop eating, and appear restless and uncomfortable. Dogs infected with parvovirus often deteriorate rapidly, so if you notice any of these signs get your dog into the vet quickly. A simple test can be done to confirm if your dog has Parvo, and we can start treatment quickly if necessary.
What can I do to protect my dog?
If you have a new puppy make sure they get their vaccinations on time, and make sure you keep them at home until they are fully vaccinated. Although vaccinated dogs can still get infected by Parvo vaccinations can significantly reduce the severity of disease.
If my dog does become sick, what treatment is involved in their recovery? How much would it cost?
Caring for a Parvo patient is very intensive and treatment does not guarantee recovery. Being a virus there is no treatment to kill it, so all treatments are used to decrease the symptoms. If your dog becomes sick with Parvo you will generally be spending upwards of $1000.
This cost covers:
- Consultation: This is your initial contact with the Vet. They will examine your dog, make a diagnosis, and plan the required treatment. $
- Hospitalisation: Your dog will need to be kept in isolation to prevent any other dogs in the clinic becoming infected. A dedicated nurse will need to put protective clothing on every time they check your dog. This includes gowns, gloves and boots. They will clean up vomit and bloody diarrhoea, clean the cage, clean your dog, check your dogs vital signs, administer medication, and give the Vet frequent updates. The Vet will also examine your dog regularly throughout the course of its stay to assess how recovery is progressing. They will keep in contact with you to keep you well informed, and make changes to the treatment plan if needed. $$$
- Medication and Fluids: With all the vomiting and diarrhoea your dog will become very dehydrated, and their electrolytes will be out of balance. Your dog will be placed on an intra-venous drip and will be given fluids to correct dehydration. Medication will be given to help decrease vomiting, and to try and prevent your dog developing septicaemia (blood poisoning). $$
You mentioned Parvo can kill my dog, what are the recovery chances?
The survival rate for Parvo is reasonable if caught before the dog becomes too dehydrated, or develops septicaemia or other complications. Puppies are exceptionally vulnerable to parvovirus infection. Some dog breeds are also at higher risk of developing Parvo (Black and tan breeds such as Rottweilers and Dobermans).
The best prevention against Parvo infection is a full course of vaccinations. These are given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age (and in some situations a 6 week vaccination is needed). A booster vaccination is given at 1 year of age, and then every three years subsequently.