Parvo disease is a puppy killer and it can kill your dog in just 72 hours. In fact, the mortality rate of untreated parvo-infected puppies is as high as 80%. The disease is caused by the canine parvovirus, which attacks the digestive system of dogs. The disease may also affect the heart, though such incidents are rare.
If you recently got a puppy, follow these tips to prevent Parvo.
Prevent Parvo in Puppies #1: Let Them Drink Mother’s Colostrum
Puppies inherit maternal antibodies from their mom’s colostrum, the first milk. This helps their bodies fight off parvo and other diseases while their own immune systems are slowly building up.
Maternal antibodies help protect your puppy from certain diseases until he turns 3-month old. However, it must also be noted that puppies can only receive antibodies against parvo if their mother has received the vaccination or has been exposed to the virus a few months before they were conceived. If the mother dog had not been vaccinated against parvo or was never exposed to the virus, she may not have any antibodies to pass along to her litter.
Prevent Parvo in Puppies #2: Vaccinate
Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent parvo in puppies. The procedure introduces modified viruses into the puppy’s body without harming him.
There is a “period of susceptibility” when a puppy is at the greatest risk. In most puppies, this period ranges from 6 to 12 weeks. For this reason, it is ideal for puppies to receive their first shot of vaccines when they are between 6 and 8 weeks of age.
Having them vaccinated too early is also not a good idea. Puppies still carry maternal antibodies until a certain age. Vaccinating them too early would only trigger a response from their inherited antibodies instead of their own. This, therefore, defeats the purpose of vaccination.
Prevent Parvo in Puppies #3: Refrain from Taking Your Puppy Out Until Vaccination is Complete
Canine parvovirus can be found in contaminated soil and objects. Any object can get contaminated when a parvo-infected dog or his feces comes in contact with it.
For this reason, it is not a good idea to let your puppy frequent outside where a lot of unfamiliar dogs and wild animals play or roam.
If you really need to take your puppy out with you, put him in a carrier and do not let him set foot on vulnerable soil –especially when there are cases of parvo disease in your area.
Prevent Parvo in Puppies #4: Limit Your Puppy’s Contact With Other Dogs
If you wish to prevent parvo in your puppy, it is important to limit your pet’s contact with other dogs – especially strays and unfamiliar dogs. You never know which dogs are infected. Some dogs even become carriers of the virus and show no signs of the disease.
However, socializing your puppy early in obedience classes is acceptable. As puppies and dogs are required to have at least one round of their vaccines before they are enrolled.
Prevent Parvo in Puppies #5 Take Precautionary Measures
You and your family members can also carry the virus into your home. Canine parvovirus can stick to the sole of your shoes, your clothes, and even hands.
Here are a few things you can do after coming home to help prevent parvo in your puppy.
- Spray the soles of your shoes with a mixture of water and bleach.
- Change your clothes before petting or coming to your young puppy.
- Wash and disinfect your hands before handling your pup.
Prevent Parvo in Puppies #6: Clean Puppy’s Belongings Regularly
Do not forget to wash your puppy’s bowls, toys, and belongings regularly. Not only does washing your puppy’s stuff prevent parvo, this also keeps other diseases and parasite infestation away.
Prevent Parvo in Puppies #7: Boost Puppy’s Immune System
Making sure that your puppy has a healthy immune system helps prevent parvo. Give your new puppy a healthy diet, vitamins, and adequate exercise. Give him plenty of water to drink. Vitamin C can also help boost your puppy’s immune system.
Separation anxiety, fear, and exposure to extreme weather can cause stress in your puppy and this can weaken his immune system.
Remember, you can never fully protect your puppy from viral diseases, such as parvo. But following the above-mentioned steps, you can minimize any chance of infection.