Benjamin Franklin stated that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure…” This timeless quote is as accurate today as it was in the 18th century, especially where your pets health is concerned. Ensuring your pets are properly vaccinated can prevent them from catching life threatening diseases.
Canine Parvovirus (Parvo) is a highly resistant virus that is spread by animals, people or objects that come into contact with infected dog feces. Extremely hardy, this virus can last in the environment for up to two years. Shoes, water bowls, even tennis balls that you took to the dog park could all potentially be vectors harboring this deadly virus.
Parvovirus attacks the rapidly dividing cells in the body, mainly in the gastrointestinal tract, causing severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The compromised gastrointestinal tract then begins to leak proteins, and the newly ulcerated intestines allow bacteria to start seeping into the bloodstream, resulting in sepsis.
The mortality rate for untreated Parvo cases is over 90%. While there is no cure for Parvo, seeking medical treatment as soon as possible after the symptoms are noted is critical, don’t wait until the morning. Supportive care includes fluid therapy to help combat the dehydration; potassium and dextrose fluid additives to aid in potentially low blood sugar levels and electrolyte imbalances; Anti-emetics to assist with the nausea; and finally, antibiotics to treat the secondary bacterial infections caused by the virus.
Puppies, unvaccinated dogs, and ones not up to date on their yearly booster vaccines are susceptible to catching this disease. This is why it is so important to vaccinate them appropriately!
Treatment can entail as much as 5 days in the hospital receiving supportive care, and even with medical intervention, the disease can still prove to be fatal. A vaccine in this case, is the “ounce of prevention” that will save your pet’s life and spare your bank account.
Another pro tip: if you have a puppy, we really really really encourage you to consider pet health insurance. That’s another “Ounce of Prevention” you may very much come to appreciate over the years.