Parvo Is Alive and Well

Healthy Great Pyrenees
Healthy Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

I have had many dogs with Parvovirus in my lifetime.  Mostly when I was much younger and just becoming aware of the virus and its devastating effect on the canine species.  I lost many young hunting dogs to the horrible green vomit and diarrhea associated with the disease.  Severe dehydration is what actually kills the dog because they can’t keep anything in their stomach or intestines.  If caught soon enough, supplemental hydration in the form of lactated ringers given under the skin will sustain the dogs life long enough to beat the virus and be able to start eating and drinking again.

I haven’t seen parvo in such a long time because the canine world has learned the importance of vaccinating against this horrible virus, and it is now included in every puppy vaccine out there.  When we first started encountering it, we would vaccinate the pups at 4 weeks and then every two weeks until they were three months old.  The vaccines have come a long way since then, and it is no longer necessary to have such a heavy shot schedule.  But it is necessary for the puppy to have at least two shots two to three weeks apart.  So if you buy a puppy with a health certificate, that only means that he has had one set of shots.  He will need another to be protected.  You can have your vet administer these shots, take advantage of the many puppy clinics offered, or buy the vaccine at your local feed store and give it to the puppy yourself.

The vaccine will cost around $10 and comes in a little kit that includes a dry bottle, a wet bottle, and the syringe complete with needle.  You insert the needle into the wet bottle and then insert it into the dry bottle, which will automatically draw all of the fluid into the bottle.  Remove the needle and shake the little bottle until the dry matter is completely dissolved and incorporated into the fluid.  Then re-insert the needle and draw all of the liquid into the syringe.  Remove the needle from the little bottle and put the cap on the needle.  You are now ready to give your puppy his shot.

Puppy vaccination

Giving puppy shot

On your puppy’s shoulders, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the skin up.  Insert you needle in a horizontal fashion so as to go under the skin, not poke straight down into the muscle.  Also make sure that you didn’t go in one side and right out the other with the needle sticking through the skin.  You want the needle to be underneath the skin when you depress the syringe.  Depress the syringe fully and quickly, removing the needle when you have finished.  At the point, your vaccination is complete.  Be sure to record the date and type of vaccine because it will be an important part of your animal’s medical history.

The reason I’m taking the time to tell you this is because many people are not aware of the virus and the need for vaccination against it.  It is carried by flies, and your dog can be infected through their eyes in a moment.   It has an incubation period of 7 to 14 days.  But if an infected dog is urinating and defacating on the ground, it can live for up to four years in the ground.  Bleach will kill the virus on objects that the affected animal comes into contact with, but it cannot kill it in the dirt.  Our vet recommended that we just concrete the floor of the pen to kill the virus.  It’s that strong.  And it’s a very serious consideration if you have any plans to bring puppies into the world.  We can overcome the parvovirus disease.  Vaccination is the key.  Protect your dogs.   Protect your pups.  Protect your heart.

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