With the summer months readily approaching, we typically see an uptick of dogs coming into our care that are on ‘distemper watch’ or ‘parvo watch’. This is typically due to the uncertainty of previous vaccinations and the rise in spread of these diseases in the warm summer months when people are more likely to take their unvaccinated pets out in public.
The canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that affects unvaccinated dogs and puppies under four months of age. The virus affects a dog’s gastrointestinal system and is spread through contaminated feces (microscopic particles) and can live in the environment for up to a year. The symptoms of parvovirus are diarrhea with or without blood, vomiting, and inappetance, often marked with rapid weight loss. 90% of infected puppies die if not treated.
The Austin Pets Alive! Parvo Puppy ICU was the first of its kind and has been leading the way in live outcome rates for these parvovirus infected puppies. A typical shelter euthanizes any puppy that tests positive for parvo, or even looks like it might have parvo, because it is so highly contagious but at APA! we take in hundreds of puppies each year from across Texas into our ICU and give them a second chance at life. We place all parvo puppies in quarantine, maintaining strict non-contamination protocols and provide consistent care and treatment, boasting a nearly 90% success rate. So far in 2016, APA! Parvo Puppy ICU has saved 249 puppies.
Canine distemper is a highly contagious disease that is caused by an airborne virus that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and unvaccinated dogs of any age. Distemper often masks itself as anything from diarrhea to nasal discharge to seizures and symptoms change throughout the course of the virus making it difficult to diagnose. The disease spreads like a cold, it does not live in the environment well but spreads quickly when dogs are in close proximity, often times before you realize it’s there. Here at APA! we provide supportive care while the distemper virus runs its course, because there is no known cure. The disease is devastating and while treatment is not always successful, we see enough dogs survive that we give them all a chance.
Mimi an APA! foster dog was recently on ‘distemper watch’, as her brother unfortunately died from distemper. Mimi is extremely lucky that she was able to fight the virus off after only a short illness. After officially being cleared by the clinic and feeling much better, Mimi is happy and healthy adopted into her forever home.
It’s important to note that distemper and parvovirus in your dog is very easily and inexpensively avoided by simply vaccinating your canine family members with a DAPP vaccine.
DAPP protects against distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza and adenovirus. At APA! we mainly concern ourselves with distemper and parvovirus because of the real risk these diseases present both inside and outside of the shelter environment. Both of these deadly viruses are easily preventable through vaccination.
Vaccinate your pets regularly to help prevent the spread of these deadly viruses.