Parvovirus and Rottweilers: What You Need To Know
Welcoming a new puppy in the family or household may be one of the most exciting things. He’s small, he’s cute. Your kids are happy to finally have a pet. Everything seems to be going well until one day you notice a change in your happy puppy’s demeanor. He’s suddenly sulky. The next day he’s lost his appetite. And then you wake up to him throwing up or having diarrhea. You take him to the vet and they tell you he has Parvovirus.
Parvovirus or Parvo is a contagious virus which causes infectious gastrointestinal illness in puppies. It is a serious illness which can cause death if left untreated. The frightening thing about parvo is how easy some dogs can contract it. Rottweiler puppies, as other bigger dog breeds, are particularly more prone to it than other breeds as well.
Thus, it is important that you, as responsible dog owners, educate yourself about the virus, how it spreads, how it can be detected and, of course, what to do when your Rottweiler puppy happens to catch it. Parvo is a serious illness, but it can also be prevented. Read on and find out the ways you can protect your puppy.
How your puppy can catch parvo
Canine Parvovirus can easily be transmitted by anything or anyone (yes, even you) which comes in contact with Parvo-infected feces or vomit. For example, you let your puppy out to play and he happened to sniff on some other dog’s poop which is infected. Chances are, your puppy would catch the virus.
Not to mention, the virus can also survive indoors on certain surfaces like clothing, human skin (yes, you read that right) and equipment for at least two months. Meanwhile it lasts longer outside being able to survive for months in places that doesn’t see direct sunlight. It isn’t hard for your curious puppy to be in contact with infected surfaces or objects both inside and outside.
How to know if your puppy has Parvo
Given how prone puppies are to Parvo, you should make it a point to closely observe any sudden change in behavior your new Rottweiler puppy shows in case they show symptoms of Parvo. Here is a list of the most common symptoms:
Severe diarrhea and vomiting: This is always a sign that something may be seriously wrong with your puppy. It will not be able to keep down anything it consumes whether water or food. Watch out for possible blood in your dog’s stools as well. It can range from a slight pink color with the stool to full on blood. Here are some pictures [Photo 1, Photo 2] which you can use for reference. Be warned though, these pictures are pretty graphic.
Lethargy: Infected dogs will usually see a plummet in activity, energy and interest in things. If your puppy is infected, he may resort to lying down in a corner all day instead of playing.
Fever: Your dog may develop a fever as the virus progresses. However, this is not the case for all dogs as some may alternatively suffer from hypothermia instead.
Loss of appetite: In connection to feeling lethargic, your dog will also not find food interesting or appetizing at all.
Weight loss: Due to the combination of severe diarrhea, vomiting and loss of appetite, you will notice some weight loss in your Rottweiler puppy.
Once you begin noticing some or all of these symptoms in your dog, take him immediately to the vet. If it’s Parvo, your dog will need immediate medical attention. Parvo has a 85% – 90% mortality rate if left untreated. You read that right, if you treat your infected canine for their parvo they will have at least a 85% chance of living a full healthy life.
Even with all the testing in the world tests can give false positives. I had been found that the Corona Virus can mimic the parvo virus. Believe it or not; Some vets have even confused JLPP for the Parvo virus. The most important thing here is not to panic and start treatment right away. This treatment could be as little as 24 to 72 hours.
How you can protect your puppy from Parvo
There are plenty of ways you can protect your new Rottweiler puppy from Parvo.
First and most important, don’t skip out on your puppy’s vaccines! This is one of the most effective ways to prevent your puppy from contracting Parvo. Ask your breeder which shots they’ve given your puppy and which ones you’ll need to take your little pup to the vet for. First vaccines are usually given when a puppy is 6 to 8 weeks old with boosters given at three-week intervals until they reach 16 weeks old. And once your puppy grows into an adult dog, take them once a year or once every three years to get their booster shot still.
And since non-vaccinated dogs are more prone to Parvo, it is better if you limit your puppy’s interactions with non-vaccinated dogs until your puppy’s got its first three vaccines. In connection, avoid going to places where your puppy might be exposed to these dogs like pet stores, dog parks and other public areas. You may want to show off your new cute companion but it is better to ensure its safety first.
Of course, there will come a time when you’ll need to take your puppy out to the vet for shots or checkups. We advise that you carry your puppy in and while inside as well. Remember how Parvo can be transmitted from objects? It can also be contracted by walking on infected grounds.
Parvovirus can thrive just about anywhere even inside your home. If you suspect that an area of your house may have been infected by the virus, you can disinfect the place by cleaning it with a mixture of ½ cup bleach in a gallon of water. Yes, you’ll need something as strong as bleach because regular soap can’t kill Parvovirus.
What to do if you’re puppy contracted parvo
When you take your puppy to the vet, they’ll most likely give your puppy a shot, a sub-Q and some antibiotics to give them after. However, treatment will greatly depend on the severity of the virus. Some may even prescribe your dog some Reglan in order to its intestinal spasms at home.
In most cases, you won’t need to leave your puppy in the dog hospital. Nursing it back to health will greatly depend on you so be sure to follow the vet’s instructions religiously. After all, your puppy will surely be more comfortable with you at home. Just be sure to keep it hydrated.
One effective and recommended way to keep your puppy hydrated is by giving them Pedialyte. All that pooping and vomiting will surely drain your puppy’s body of fluids which can then lead to dehydration (which can also kill your dog). You can begin by giving your puppy some 2 to 3 tablespoons every half hour depending on its size.
Parvovirus is a highly-contagious virus which can cause health complications in your new Rottweiler puppy. Being easily contracted and having a high mortality rate, it should be taken very seriously. Don’t be afraid to seek immediate medical and professional help once you start seeing the dreaded symptoms. Read up on the topic and inform yourself about the virus and its causes. The only mistake you can make is staying uninformed.