Signs of Parvo

Dog laying in a dog bed
July 1, 2022

Pet owners know when their dog is acting out of the ordinary and when something is wrong. If your canine companion is experiencing odd symptoms such as lethargy and loss of appetite or fever and diarrhea, they could have parvo. Parvo is a disease all dog owners should be aware of.

What is Parvo?

Parvo, or Canine Parvovirus (CPV), is a highly contagious virus spread through direct contact with an infected dog and occasionally through indirect contact with a contaminated object. Your dog can pick up the virus when they sniff, lick, or consume infected objects and feces. There are two different strains of parvo: CPV-2a and CPV-2b. They cause the same illness, but CPV-2b is typically more severe. The good news is there are vaccines to protect your dog against these strains.It is an illness that can affect all dogs. Puppies less than a few months old and unvaccinated dogs have a higher risk of contracting parvo. Vets typically recommend parvo vaccinations when your dog is a puppy. Talk to your vet to set up a vaccination appointment.

How Can My Dog get parvo?

It is highly contagious. Parvo is passed from dog to dog through contaminated species, kennel surfaces, cages, collars, leashes, food and water bowls, and so on. The disease can withstand most climates and survive in environments for long periods of time.

What are the Signs of Parvo?

Parvo impacts dogs' gastrointestinal tracts: the stomach and small intestines. And this is where you will see changes in your dog if they become infected with parvo. If your dog has parvo, you will notice a change in their stool. Dogs with parvo often have diarrhea, most likely severe and bloody. Your dog will also experience:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Fever or low body temperature (hypothermia)

Is your puppy throwing up? That is one of the main signs your canine has parvo. There are different types of vomit your dog can have, and different colors mean different things. Sometimes it means nothing, and it can be brushed off, but other times it is a warning sign pointing to larger issues such as parvo. Here are the different types of dog vomit:

  • Brown vomit: This typically means your dog did not completely chew their food or ate too fast, inhaling a lot of air. It is regurgitation.
  • Yellow vomit: This is common in dogs and occurs when a dog has an empty stomach.
  • White, foamy vomit: This indicates a buildup of stomach acid.
  • Clear, liquid vomit: This means there is a lot of water in the stomach.
  • Mucus-y vomit: Slimy vomit happens when a dog drools a lot.
  • Bloody vomit: This is when you see red or pink. You should take this very seriously. Blood can mean your dog has a tumor or an ulcer.
  • Green vomit: Your dog most likely ate grass.
  • Worms in vomit: this is definitely a sign your dog has an infection.

There is no single answer as to why a dog is vomiting. It can be constant and chronic, or it can be a one-off instance. Here are some possible reasons your dog may be throwing up:

  • Diet change
  • Cancer
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Ate too fast
  • Eating or drinking contaminated substances
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Parvovirus
  • Motion sickness
  • Parasites
  • Infections, such as Parvo
  • New medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Ulcers
  • Addison's disease

Symptoms usually appear within six to 10 days after exposure to parvo. It is important to act quickly and accordingly. Here is what you should do.

What Should I Do if My Dog Has Parvo?

If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your vet. If it is after your vet's regular operating hours, head to your local 24/7 animal hospital. If your dog is vomiting, and it is not due to hunger, go to your nearest pet emergency center. Many centers, such as Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists, will offer 24-hour on-call services. It is crucial to diagnose issues early when they happen in order to get them treated quickly.Your home should also be properly disinfected. The virus can survive indoors for at least one month, whereas outdoors, it can live up to a few months or a year in the right environment. Use a cleaner proven to kill the Parvovirus on all surfaces – especially kennels and dog toys. Ask your vet about recommended parvo disinfectants.Contact us at Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists today if you suspect your dog has parvo or want to schedule a preventative visit.

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