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Parvo Information , keeping your puppy safe

Super Nova Standard Poodles, Oakland Tn



Balancing the risk of your puppy contracting Parvovirus against the
need for socialization of your puppy, and the effort it takes to
sequester your puppy until the age of 16 weeks, is no small decision.
In this article you will be provided with a brief overview of what Parvo is, what
makes it so dangerous, and the actual costs of treating a puppy that
contracts Parvo.

First, a bit about our enemy, properly called Canine Parvovirus. This
virus was unknown until the late 1970's, when it began appearing in,
and devastating, the canine population. There is now a vaccine that
produces immunity to the virus in adult dogs, and deaths due to Parvo
now occur almost exclusively in puppies. The symptoms of Parvo
infection are lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. An infected dog sheds
the virus in its vomit and diarrhea, and a susceptible puppy will be
infected if it ingests even a tiny amount of that by sniffing or licking a
surface that contains it. Some dogs will get what is called a 'subclinical
infection'. They will not appear particularly ill, but will shed large
numbers of viruses in their stool nonetheless, and thus contaminate
the environment.

What makes puppies so vulnerable to Parvo? For one thing, if they DO
contract the virus, the virus causes vomiting and diarrhea. Because of
their small size they dehydrate quickly, and dehydration leads to
shock, organ failure and death. The virus also destroys the lining of
the intestines, allowing bacteria from the intestines to leak into the rest
of the body, causing a fatal infection called septicemia.

During the time puppies are nursing, and for a period of time
afterwards, they have antibodies to Parvovirus that they received from
their mom's milk. Interestingly enough, it is mom's antibodies,
circulating in the puppies blood, that will destroy any Parvo vaccine
administered to the puppy, as well as any Parvovirus to which they are
exposed. This is the reason puppies are vaccinated multiple times
between 6 and 16 weeks of age. Without doing an expensive blood
test on the puppy, it is impossible to know if mom's antibodies are still
circulating, ready to destroy any invader, including the vaccine. Since
one does not know EXACTLY when mom's antibodies are completely
gone, vaccinations are given at 4 week intervals between the ages of
5 or 6 weeks and 16 weeks. There is a greater than 90% chance that,
by the last vaccination at 16 weeks, the mom's antibodies are gone
and the vaccine will cause the pup to manufacture antibodies of its
own. Until then, there is the chance that the pup will be experiencing
a window where mom's antibodies are gone, but the pup has not had
a chance to make its own. The puppy has to be vaccinated during this
Parvo Information , keeping your puppy safe

Super Nova Standard Poodles, Oakland Tn

window, after mom's antibodies are gone. One that happens, it takes
about a week for the puppy to have produced enough antibodies to be
immune to the virus. So the safest thing to do is to wait one week
BEYOND the final vaccination at 16 weeks to allow your puppy
exposure to areas that have a higher likelihood of contamination.

Parvo is considered ubiquitous in the environment. It is extremely
hardy, and can live for up to 6 months even in freezing or blistering
temperatures. Any area where dogs have been in the last 6 months is
considered potentially contaminated unless it has been sterilized with
bleach. A dog with Parvo will shed the virus in its stools in the
astoundingly large number of 35 million viruses per OUNCE of stool.
In addition, it is VERY contagious. It takes approximately 1000
viruses to cause an infection in a dog without immunity. The
combination of its hardiness in the environment, the large numbers
deposited in the environment, and the low number required for
infection, make it extremely easy to contract. Once contracted, it is
very dangerous. The death rate, without treatment, for puppies
contracting Parvo virus is 35-65%. With treatment, 80% of puppies
survive.

What this means for owners of puppies under the age of 16 weeks is
that they need to seriously restrict the contact that their puppy has
with the environment, if they wish to avoid exposure. Not only are
outside walks in any place frequented by dogs discouraged, but it
means limiting exposure by not allowing visitors who have frequented
such places. Parvo can be carried on clothing, shoes and car tires.
Walking through a mall parking lot that has a pet store brings the risk
of carrying the virus into your home on your shoes. Many new puppy
owners begin a policy of 'No Shoes in the House' for this reason.

The next obvious question becomes, if treatment for Parvo is relatively
successful, then might not it be reasonable to risk exposure and just
treat it if it occurs? While that is a possible choice, one should be
clearly aware of the expenses before making it.

The blood test that will diagnose Parvo costs between $65 and $100.
Once diagnosed, a puppy that contracts Parvo requires intensive care
treatment in a veterinarian's office. A minimum of a 3-5 day hospital
stay is usually required. More blood tests will be required to
determine if the Parvo has caused the bone marrow to stop producing
white blood cells, and to determine if the puppy's blood proteins are
too low, which can cause fluid in the lungs. If either of those occur,
special transfusions are required to save the pup. The pup must
Parvo Information , keeping your puppy safe

Super Nova Standard Poodles, Oakland Tn

receive medications to slow the diarrhea, medications to stop the
nausea and vomiting, and medications to kill the bacteria that cause
the septicemia. They also require fluids supplied intravenously, as
dehydration is one of the major causes of death. All told, the lowest
cost one generally sees for a successful Parvo treatment is in the range
of $850-$1000. Bills up to $3000 are not unusual.

Finally, owners must be aware that vaccines are not effective 100% of
the time, and certain breeds (German Shephards, Rottweilers and
Dobermans) seem more susceptible to Parvo infection. Sometimes
even a properly vaccinated dog will contract Parvovirus. All owners
should learn to recognize the symptoms of Parvo (high fever and
lethargy, followed by vomiting and bloody diarrhea) and seek
veterinary attention immediately if they see them in their dog.


Parvo Information , keeping your puppy safe

Super Nova Standard Poodles, Oakland Tn



I have read this information packet and I agree not to take my puppy to dog parks, pet stores, grooming
salons, puppy day cares or on walks in public parks or streets until my puppy is FULLY vaccinated against
all contractible viruses and / or diseases.

Owner ___________________________________
Seller ____________________________________
Date signed _______________________________