Dr. Marie replied:
Hi Jordianne and thanks for your questions. I'll see if I can help.
Is it possible for puppies to contract parvo after the first series of vaccinations?
Yes, one set of vaccines is usually not enough to protect a puppy from parvo.
Aside from the treatment drug Parvaide, are there any home remedies to treat “Parvo”?
By far the best treatment for parvo is to stay in the hospital on intravenous fluids and antibiotics. I have had dogs who were successfully treated at home (mostly because it is expensive to treat in the hospital). You can buy an electrolyte solution
either from the pet store or vet's office that will help to get some good fluids in orally. However, if a pup is vomiting this may not help. I have also prescribed medication to give orally such as Cerenia that helps with vomiting. I have seen animals survive parvo with home treatment but the odds are not great.
One recent study showed that 90% of dogs that had parvo and didn't receive treatment died and 85-90% of puppies that had intravenous fluid therapy and in hospital treatment survived.
If a male dog has parvo and has survived, is it possible for him to pass it down to pups while mating? Why?
No. Parvo is not spread via sperm. It is spread via contact with infected diarrhea or vomit. Once an animal has recovered from parvo they will not be shedding virus. There may be virus in the environment though if it was not disinfected properly. Bleach is the best way to kill the virus.
What are the causes and effects of the parvovirus on the puppies?
Parvo causes damage to the villi of the intestines. These are the cells in the intestines that absorb nutrients from the food. When they get damaged it causes the pup to not be able to absorb as much fluid from the stool and the result is diarrhea. The damage to the villi causes bleeding and so we will see blood in the stool.
The virus also causes damage in the bone marrow and makes it difficult for a puppy to fight infection.
When puppies die from parvo virus it is usually because of a combo of infection dehydration because of all of the fluid lost via diarrhea and vomiting.
Really young puppies can also get something called myocarditis from parvo virus which is where the heart muscle is severely injured. This is usually fatal.
What are the different types of parvo? What do they stand for?
There really is only one type of parvo virus that dogs get these days. But, there are a few different strains they can get (CPV-1, CPV-2a, CPV-2b, CPV-2c). We believe most dogs that get parvo these days get CPV-2b, but they are all basically the same. CPV-2c is a newer strain but most CPV-2b vaccines are effective against CPV-2c as well. There is a lot of unsubstantiated internet hype about CPV-2c.
Cats can get a form of parvo virus called panleukopenia. And, there is a type of parvo virus that can affect people but it is a totally different type of virus that doesn't cause vomiting or diarrhea. Parvo is not contagious from animals to people.
Why is it that maternal antibodies initially give a pup protection from the parvovirus? How long does that protection last?
This could be a complicated question to answer. If a puppy is born to a vaccinated dog some of that dog's immunity against parvo virus is passed down to the pup. The problem is, we never know how much. So, some dogs can be protected against parvo for a period of time even though they haven't had a vaccine.
If we give a parvo vaccine during this time period, the maternal immunity overrides the vaccine and the vaccine is not effective. This is one of the reasons why we need to give several sets of vaccines. In some dogs the maternal immunity may last for several weeks and so we need to make sure that we get two vaccines on board AFTER the maternal immunity runs out in order for the immune system to make antibodies that will stay for at least a year.
Why is it that the immune system is the only thing that can stop this deadly disease?
Parvo is a virus and we don't have any drugs that will directly kill the virus in the body. Drugs like Tamiflu can slow down replication of the virus but not kill it. All we can do is protect the body from the effects of the virus (i.e. dehydration) until the immune system has done its job in getting rid of the bug.
Is it possible for the parvovirus to be passed down from pup to pup in a litter? What if a pup has a strong immune system, could the virus still be contracted?
Parvo virus type 2 (which is what most dogs get these days) cannot be spread via the placenta and given to the puppy. Type 1 parvo can be transmitted through the placenta to developiong puppies but we rarely see this type of parvovirus these days.
However, if the pup, after being born, was exposed to mom's vomit or diarrhea then they could get it. The strength of the immune system is not important. It's the amount of maternal immunity against parvo that is important. And, if mom had come down with parvo then it means she wasn't immune so the pups would not have maternal immunity.
If fetus’ contract MVC and die, what are the chances of the mother contracting it?
This question caused me to have to do some research and I'm afraid I may not have a complete answer for you. MVC (or minute virus of canines) is the same as type-1 parvovirus. This is the original type of parvo that was seen in the 70s. While MVC can cause fetal death I don't believe it is commonly seen. In fact, I have not seen it in 11 years of practice and I had a hard time finding information in my resources on it. And, if an adult dog gets MVC it is rarely fatal.
Why is dehydration an important problem when a dog develops the parvovirus?
Dehydration is usually what kills dogs with parvo. The dog loses so much fluid through vomiting and diarrhea that it causes him or her to go into shock and eventually kidney failure and die.
I hope all of this info helps! Hope you do well on your paper!
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