Our expert says:
One of the saddest things in private practice is witnessing the joy and delight of a new puppy or kitten turn to sorrow when, a few days after its purchase; it succumbs to a horrible disease like parvovirus or distemper. What makes it especially sad is that these diseases are preventable with correct vaccination.
Parvo virus is an acute illness which begins with depression, vomiting, and diarrhea. Diarrhea is profuse and contains mucus and/or blood. Dehydration develops rapidly.
The virus is shed in large amounts in the stools of acutely infected dogs for up to several weeks following infection. Parvo can be carried on the dog’s hair and feet, as well as on contaminated crates, shoes, and other objects.
Vaccinations, starting by 8 weeks of age, will prevent most cases of parvovirus infection. During the first weeks of life, puppies are protected by high levels of maternal antibodies.
Canine distemper is caused by the canine distemper virus. Animals usually become infected by direct contact with virus particles from the secretions of other infected animals (generally via inhalation). The virus can be shed by dogs for several weeks after recovery. Puppies under four months of age and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk.
Canine distemper causes symptoms in multiple body systems, including the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, and the brain and spinal cord
There is no treatment specific to the distemper virus, so treatment involves managing the various symptoms and secondary infections. Even with treatment, distemper can be fatal
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