Our expert says:
Catflu’s correct name is actually parvoviral enteritis. It is a viral infection that infects dogs (not cats!) and causes very bad vomiting and diarrhoea. All dogs can be infected but it usually causes clinical symptoms in young dogs, especially puppies that have not been vaccinated. Black and tan breeds are more susceptible. The virus invades the intestinal lining and causes destruction of the cells that are needed for digestion and absorption of nutrients. This is what leads to the bad diarrhoea (often bloody) and vomiting. Unfortunately the virus also suppresses the immune system and therefore the body struggles to get rid of it. Puppies can get very ill from this. They often need prolonged in hospital care and unfortunately sometimes do not survive!
Yes, it can be prevented. Most importantly, you must make sure that your dog’s vaccination is up to date! Puppies must be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks with a second and a third booster a month apart. Thereafter they must be vaccinated once a year. Avoid contact with unvaccinated dogs as far as possible! An infected dog can still shed the virus in the stool for 2 weeks after infection, therefore must be kept away from all other dogs for at least 2 weeks. Clean the infected environment with a strong chloride disinfectant.
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