Using the internet resources of Wikipedia, I just wanted to get the word out about something that strikes fear in the hearts of canine pet owners. This is a true story about Tails contracting this virus, in her own yard, where she is always leash walked, and never leaves the yard. The same for her canine siblings, Sadie and Grub. Infected stray animals are likely the culprits to have brought this frightening story with a happy ending into our summer.
Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV2, colloquially parvo) is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs. The disease is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces. It can be especially severe in puppies that are not protected by maternal antibodies or vaccination. It has two distinct presentations, a cardiac and intestinal form. The common signs of the intestinal form are severe vomiting and dysentery. The cardiac form causes respiratory or cardiovascular failure in young puppies. Treatment often involves veterinary hospitalization. Vaccines can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases. Canine parvovirus will not infect humans. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tails's encounter with this virus happened June of this year. The mystery of her exposure to it remains, since she and her canine siblings, 9 year old Sadie and 4 year old Grub are pretty much isolated from other animals. The happy ending is that with 2 weeks of treatment at home, Tails is a healthy, and growing 1 year old with liberties and privileges afforded responsible behavior to a pup this age.
Monday morning we traveled to a nearby vet with a puppy showing signs of dehydration in just 24 hours after her first vomit episode. One test for the virus later, (Diagnosis is made through detection of CPV2 in the feces by either an ELISA or a hemagglutination test, or by electron microscopy : From Wikipedia) the diagnosis was certain. We immediately began the crash course training of how to insert needles for fluids, and a list of do's and don'ts for the next 2-3 weeks... at home, (the hospitalization plan was not in our budget).
*Footnote to this treatment at home... Take it Very Seriously! This very ill, vulnerable and trusting animal is counting on YOU to get her through this.. and the bond you form here, will live forever.
Hydration is critical throughout the recovery period, so leaving the pup alone is NOT an option. Soothing words and loving attention go a long way in bringing the animal back to full health. Isolation from all other pets is imperative and you won't want the patient to feel he or she is being punished at this time, so being nearby for communication, and taking the potty walks will be a 'special' treat.
Survival rate depends on how quickly CPV is diagnosed, the age of the dog and how aggressive the treatment is...Treatment usually involves extensive hospitalization, due to the severe dehydration and damage to the intestines and bone marrow. ...Treatment ideally also consists of crystalloid IV fluids and/or colloids, antinausea injections (antiemetics) such as metoclopramide, dolasetron, ondansetron and prochlorperazine, and antibiotic injections such as cefoxitin, metronidazole, timentin, or enrofloxacin. IV fluids are administered and antinausea and antibiotic injections are given subcutaneously, intramuscularly, or intravenously. The fluids are typically a mix of a sterile, balanced electrolyte solution, with an appropriate amount of B-complex vitamins, dextrose and potassium chloride. Analgesic medications such as buprenorphine are also used to counteract the intestinal discomfort caused by frequent bouts of diarrhea. ...Once the dog can keep fluids down, the IV fluids are gradually discontinued, and very bland food slowly introduced. Oral antibiotics are administered for a number of days depending on the white blood cell count and the patient's ability to fight off secondary infection. A puppy with minimal symptoms can recover in 2 or 3 days if the IV fluids are begun as soon as symptoms are noticed and the CPV test confirms the diagnosis. If more severe, depending on treatment, puppies can remain ill from 5 days up to 2 weeks. However, even with hospitalization, there is no guarantee that the dog will be cured and survive... Untreated cases of CPV2 have a mortality rate approaching 91%. With aggressive therapy, survival rates may approach 80-95%, a mortality rate of 5-20%.
Prevention and Decontamination
Prevention is the only way to ensure that a puppy or dog remain healthy because the disease is extremely virulent and contagious. The virus is extremely hardy and has been found to survive in feces and other organic material such as soil for over a year. It survives extremely cold and hot temperatures. The only household disinfectant that kills the virus is bleach.
Puppies are generally vaccinated in a series of doses, extending from the earliest time that the immunity derived from the mother wears off until after that passive immunity is definitely gone. Older puppies (16 weeks or older) are given 3 vaccinations 3 to 4 weeks apart. The duration of immunity of vaccines for CPV2 has been tested for all major vaccine manufacturers in the United States and has been found to be at least three years after the initial puppy series and a booster 1 year later.
A dog that successfully recovers from CPV2 generally remains contagious for up to three weeks, but it is possible they may remain contagious for up to six. Ongoing infection risk is primarily from fecal contamination of the environment due to the virus's ability to survive many months in the environment. Neighbors and family members with dogs should be notified of infected animals so that they can ensure that their dogs are vaccinated or tested for immunity. The vaccine will take up to 2 weeks to reach effective levels of immunity; the contagious individual should remain in quarantine until other animals are protected.
If I had read this information the first day we started treatment, I would have had a very heavy heart to carry throughout the two weeks we treated Tails. But in my ignorance, I just charged into the treatments of fluids, needles, pills, liquids, and love ( and prayers too ) and saw immediate results!
Tails is a tale of a happy ending!