Last week, we began with the big theme of specific infectious diseases against which we can vaccinate. Our first choice was Canine Parvovirus (CPV).

We had delineated the following CPV symptoms:
• Sudden onset of depression
• Loss of appetite
• Fever (104°-106°; 40°C-41°C).
• Grey coloured diarrhoea as the disease develops; then a bloody      
  diarrhoea follows
• Lethargy and rapid dehydration resulting from the diarrhoea.

 We suggested that the immediate treatment regime should reflect the symptoms exhibited:
Fever depressants
Anti-diarrhoea medicine
Fluid replacement
Antibiotics against a secondary bacterial invasion
Vitamin/mineral supplements

There is a form of CPV which attacks the heart muscles. In this case, there is a sudden death of puppies, especially those between the ages of 1 and 2 months. This myocardial (heart) form of the CPV is characterized by oedema (swelling of the limbs due to an accumulation of fluid in the tissues), in addition to depression, fever and inappetence.
In summing up, let us make it quite clear. We are confronted here with a killer canine disease which causes often close to a 100 per cent mortality in young dogs, especially when professional veterinary intervention arrives too late. Death follows as a result of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, toxic shock or secondary septicaemia.
I will repeat what I said last week: “Where the treatment is concerned, it is advisable to let your veterinarian examine your pet, for he/she is, in fact, the only competent authority to administer a functional and useful therapy. Since there are no specific drugs to combat the virus once the dog has contracted the disease, the treatment of Canine Parvovirus is entirely symptomatic. Fluid therapy (preferably by the intravenous route) must be initiated to counteract the dehydration. Prophylactic antibiotics could be used in a supportive role to fight off any secondary bacterial invasion. The loss of appetite will necessarily lead you to a forced feeding regime, whereby bland (unspiced) chicken, beef or fish broths, in small quantities, could be used together with multivitamins. Never have I seen animals so devoid of the wish to eat as in this ailment. Really, patience and perseverance are absolutely necessary ingredients in the total recipe for your pet’s survival.”
We are dealing with a virus that is very stable and resistant to extremes of heat and cold, disinfectants and chemicals and one which withstands pressures of the environment in general. For these reasons, the virus is likely to persist in kennels for a lengthy period, while at the same time being easily transmitted from one location to another and directly from one animal to another, and indirectly by way of contact with areas which have been contaminated with stool and vomit.

Having painted such a bleak picture, what can we use to safeguard our pets against this killer disease? The answer is simple: Vaccination. In the same way that pet owners, who have emotionally and otherwise invested in their animals, routinely vaccinate their dogs against Distemper, Canine Hepatitis and Leptospirosis, so too can the pet owner vaccinate against Parvovirus.
Let us not fool ourselves. Canine Parvovirus is here to stay and it could take its toll from every litter that is unvaccinated.


Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals. Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

Around the Web