The Importance of the Parvo Vaccine

    As a licensed veterinary technician, I discuss vaccines and their importance with Eastown’s clients every day. My goals are to educate owners in the community and to help protect pets from infectious diseases. It is hard to watch any beloved pets become ill, but it can become even more difficult when the disease could have been prevented.
    One of the most difficult infectious diseases to observe and treat is parvovirus. Most patients that get parvovirus are puppies. Not only is it sad to see a puppy that sick, but it’s also very scary since their immune systems are so fragile. Parvo is a dangerous, contagious virus that attacks rapidly dividing cells in the small intestine. Pets with parvo experience sudden lethargy, vomiting, anorexia and/or diarrhea.
    We treat parvo mainly through supportive care. Once a pet is diagnosed with parvo, we perform numerous diagnostics to determine the severity of the pet’s condition and to come up with the best treatment plan. We always recommend pets with parvo to be hospitalized in our isolation ward, which allows us to keep the virus from spreading through our clinic. In treatment, we work to keep the patient hydrated with intravenous fluids, to prevent and treat any secondary infections, to control pain, to provide nutrition and to prevent nausea and stomach upset.
    The prognosis of parvo is fairly good so long as it is diagnosed and treated aggressively and early in the disease process. However, I personally have seen a lot of parvo cases not end well. This is what empowers me to educate and spread the word on the importance of vaccines.
    All puppies should be vaccinated for parvo every three to four weeks until they are 16 weeks old. Gradually, as the pet ages, we can extend this vaccine out so they are vaccinated for parvo every three years. Adult dogs can get parvo if they have not been vaccinated or if they go beyond the recommended revaccination dates.
    We recommend all puppies to have limited exposure to unvaccinated animals until they have finished their vaccine series. They should avoid dog parks, pet stores and even walks around the neighborhood. This is especially important because dogs can shed parvo without showing symptoms, and it can survive outside a pet for over seven months! We understand how much you want to show off your adorable new puppy to the world, but it is truly best to keep them at home and safe with you while they are in this fragile stage.
    -Jennie LVT

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