Examining The Parvo Virus Biology Essay


Parvo virus has infected many puppies, and older dogs. Parvo is a very contagious virus that is transmitted through the feces of other infected dogs. The virus will infect the body so rapidly fast some people may not know what is really wrong with their dog. Unfortunately sometimes it is too late to save your canine friend. There are many treacherous symptoms that are hard to even imagine if your pet was going through it. Parvo in dogs can and a lot of times lead to a horrible death, but there can be some ways to prevent it.

Who does Parvo virus effect? (Fig. I)

Parvo virus affects puppies, more so than adult dogs. It is a viral disease, which attacks and grows in rapidly dividing cells. The virus attacks, and kills these cells which will cause bloody diarrhea, depression, and block the use of white blood cells. It will attack the lining of the digestion system, which then causes puppies and dogs to not be able to absorb nutrients and liquids that they need in their body. If this virus is in young puppies, it can infect the heart muscle, which will then result in sudden death. The first discovered case of Parvo virus was in the late 1970's its similar in structure to the feline cat Parvo virus, but just differing by two amino acids. (Klinkman, 1996-2011)

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What breeds are more prone to the virus? (Fig II)

There are more susceptible breeds to the Parvo virus than other breeds; the reason why is unknown. But Rottweiler's, Doberman Pinschers, and other black, are more prone to the Parvo Virus, and have a less chance of recovery. Although Parvo Virus can affect all breeds, if you have one of these breed they are more prone to getting the virus.

Figure . Rottweiler Puppy (Eschenhagen, 2000-2009)

The reason why puppies are more susceptible (Fig III)

The reason why more puppies are more susceptible to the Parvo Virus than older dogs is, because puppies have an immature immune system that isn't as strong and developed as an adult dog's immune system.

Symptoms (Fig IV)

When puppies and dogs do get this virus, they will not have an appetite, and symptoms will occur and the dog will develop a bloody liquid stool. The Parvo symptoms start off with high fever, lethargy, depression, and loss of appetite. Then secondary symptoms, and go more into effect, and the dog will become worse from the Parvo Virus, these include, gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, and bloody or sometimes yellow diarrhea will happen. Then, dehydration, shock, and unfortunately death will follow. In some cases the virus can also attacks a dog's heart, and will result in congestive heart failure. This can also occur months, or years after a recovery from the Parvo Virus. Usually puppies or dogs who survive from the virus will return back to normal, and live a nice happy live. After recovering healthy from the virus, the time period is 1 to 2 weeks to get back to normal after being treated.

The virus will kill the dog in either one of two ways; one way is with diarrhea and vomiting, which will lead to extreme fluid loss and dehydration. With that it will make the body go into shock until death. Or the other way this virus kills is loss of the intestinal barrier that allows bacteria from invasion of the whole entire body. Extreme septic toxins from these bacteria will result in death in the dog. (Petcare Parvo Virus, 2011)

Is the virus contagious? (Fig V)

The dog Parvo Virus is highly contagious to other dogs, if the dog is not protected. Some adult dogs could carry the virus, but not show any signs. Dogs that sometimes have the typical diarrhea that Parvo causes, they also shed the virus as well. The virus can last a long time in an environment; it can last as long as nine months or longer. The virus can remain infectious in the ground from contaminated fecal matter for seven months.

Dogs and puppies can get Parvo virus, even if they have never left their own yard. Parvo is not an airborne virus; it is distributed through the feces of infected dogs. Some people believe that birds that have invaded a dog's food bowl can shed and leave the virus there. The virus can live anywhere for months, such as on shoes, clothes, food bowls, carpet, grass, and floors. It is very common for an unvaccinated dog to get the virus through areas with a lot of dogs. The virus can be on the ground at places such as parks, dog parks, and pet stores. The virus will enter the dogs system after coming in contact with the infected stool. It enters into the body through the dog's mouth from licking, and cleaning itself, or eating food off the ground or floor. Only the tiniest bit of infected stool is all it takes to enter the dog's body and make them infected with the Parvo virus. It usually takes about three to seven days for symptoms to occurs, although the infected dog may start to become sick, but it may not be very noticeable to the owner to know what is exactly going on with the dog, and to take the infected dog to the vet.

It may not always be Parvo virus (Fig. VI)

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Sometimes in this case if you do believe your puppy does have the Parvo virus because it has bloody diarrhea, it may be a parasite, some other virus that has affected the dog other then the Parvo virus, or the dog may have eating food, or a substance that has interfered with its stomach, or injured its digestive tract. It is very important to see your Veterinarian right away if any signs of bloody diarrhea come from your puppy or dog (ASPCA Pet Care, 2011).

What can be done to know if your dog is infected with the virus? (Fig. VII)

Parvo virus is diagnosed based on the clinical signs, and laboratory tests and results. A test for the virus is called the Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay test also known as the (ELISA Test). It is used to detect the virus is the dogs stool. The test usually takes about 15 minutes to complete, but the test is not 100% completely effective. Other tests may be required to take. If your dog does happen to get the Parvo virus it has about a 50 to 50 chance of survival. In more cases if the dog makes it through the first three to four days, with having the correct medical treatment. Then the dog will have a rapid recovery, and will be doing well within a week or two. It is very important that the infected dog does receive supportive medical therapy, without medical treatment most puppies will die (ASPCA Pet Care, 2011).

What medical treatment needs to done (Fig. VII)

The Parvo virus makes the dog extremely dehydrated. It is required to have intense treatment. The treatment usually is an IV, with intravenous fluids, and antibiotics. There is not cure for the virus. The only thing that can be done is to treat the symptoms, and keep the dog alive by preventing dehydration and loss of its needed proteins. Since there is no cure for this disease, all that can be done is giving fluids, regulating the electrolyte levels, controlling body temperature, and giving blood transfusions when it is needed (Petcare Parvo Virus, 2011). (ASPCA Pet Care, 2011)

Statistics (Fig. VIII)

Parvo virus is a very serious disease. Some puppies that are infected with the disease die even after having fast treatment. Statistics state that about 80% of puppies treated for Parvo virus will leave the hospital and go home almost completely healthy. And those puppies that are not treated with the correct medical treatment 80% or more will die. With the high rate of death with infected dogs, and the threat untreated dogs have from the Parvo virus, many people that know the symptoms will just assume that any case of diarrhea is automatically the Parvo virus which is not always true. (Dog Parvo Symptoms, 2008)

Killing the virus (Fig. IX)

Most disinfectants cannot kill the virus; chlorine bleach is the most effective agent that works and is used in veterinary clinics. The Parvo virus can be brought to your home to your unvaccinated dog. It can be on your shoes, hands, clothes, and car tires. The virus doesn't have to be in the animal to survive, the virus can live for many months outside the animal. If any areas are contaminated with the Parvo virus, it should be washed with chlorine bleach diluted one ounce per quart of water. (Dog Parvo Symptoms, 2008)

If you ever believe you did come in contact with the virus, or know that a dog in your area has been infected with the virus. You can kill the virus by a strong solution of water and bleach. If personal belongings such as rugs, dog toys, clothes, and sheets that have came in contact with the virus, they will be thrown away properly.

Home treatment (Fig. X)

Sometimes people go with a natural supplement called Parvo-K; it is a natural homeopathic Parvo treatment. It helps maintain a healthy normal temperature, normal digestive tract, and support normal hydration in dogs. It is easy to give dogs as well. It comes in a dissolved lactose granules. They can be easily sprinkled in the dog's mouth, and needs to be mixed within the food for three to five times a day for 10 to 15 days. A bottle of this natural substance will last usually last 1 to 4 weeks depending on the size of your dog (Dog Parvo Symptoms, 2008).

Figure . Parvo- K Natural Supplement(Dog Parvo Symptoms, 2008)

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With a homeopathic diet for dogs, it is a bland diet that helps the dog not become nauseated. The diet contains "one chopped hardboiled egg, ½ cup cream of wheat, or up to two cups of boiled white rice, and 1 ½ cups of full-fat cottage cheese" (Petcare Parvo Virus, 2011). All the food ingredients for this diet need to be mixed together and the amount that needs to be given to your dog is one to two tbsp daily up to four times a day. Do not leave this bland diet out in room temperature. Keep the bland diet stored in the refrigerator. If the dog continues to vomit, stop feeding the dog the diet, and feed ice chips. Once the vomiting does stop then start the diet back up. Home treatment during this virus is not recommended by veterinarians; even with the best veterinarian care this virus can be very fatal in dogs. (Dog Parvo Symptoms, 2008)

With people doing just a home remedy treatment, it is not as effective as the veterinarian and veterinarian technician's care and medical knowledge to know what needs to done. The survival rate is higher if the infected dog is under the supervision with the right medical procedures being done on it. Usually the Parvo virus dog is under medical care in a hospital for five to seven days. The time spent in the hospital will be a costly expense, but if the dog needs the intense treatment from doctors it will have a better chance for survival.

What is the best way to prevent the virus (Fig. XI)

The best way to prevent your dog from getting the Parvo virus is to have them vaccinated. A vaccine called the "5 in 1" is a vaccine that not only protects the dog from Parvo virus, but as well as hepatitis, distemper, leptospirosis, and para-influenza. The first vaccine is given at six to eight weeks old of puppy hood, and then a booster vaccine is given at (four- week intervals) until the puppy reaches 16 to 20 weeks old. Then the last vaccine will be given at one year mark for the dog (Petcare Parvo Virus, 2011).

Older dogs that have not received the vaccination may be susceptible to the Parvo virus, and should receive at least one immunization. It is best to ask your veterinarian when your dog should receive the vaccine, if you do not remember if your dog has received the vaccine, your dog's file at your vet clinic will have if it has either received it or not.

Free to come home healthy (Fig. XII)

After a dog has had the veterinarian medical treatment for the Parvo virus and is free to come home. Cats and humans cannot get this virus. If the sick puppy was indoors, you need to wait at least a month before letting any other dogs inside that may not have had the vaccine against Parvo Virus. If the sick puppy was outside, it takes about seven months for the virus to die, and to be gone from the soil. During freezing weather, the seven month time period still does not count. It is good to give the dog a bath after returning home; bathing your dog will reduce any amount of the virus that was left on the fur, and it will help reduce contagion. Make sure to dry off the dog completely so it doesn't get cold, if the dog gets cold, it might get sick. (Klinkman, 1996-2011)

Unfortunately the virus won (Fig. XII)

An unfortunate case has happened to Max a Chihuahua mix. He unfortunately was infected with the Parvo virus, and around four or five days began showing the symptoms right before the virus attacked him. The owner of Max went to the Vet and got him a booster shot, and a syringe to feed him water and food with. Max tried to fight the virus, but the Parvo virus won and Max unfortunately died. It is extremely sad that dogs get this cruel nasty virus that works so fast in the body, which it kills in such as short time period. But as stated veterinarians suggest it is very important when your dog does have the Parvo virus to have the dog stay in the Vet hospital for medical treatment. (Dog Parvo Symptoms, 2008)

The owners of Max may have not had the money to have Max get the medical treatment, and for him to stay in the hospital for that length of a time. So they tried saving him at home. Although Max was strong and tried to pull through, the virus won. (Dog Parvo Symptoms, 2008)

If you ever believe your dog has may become infected with the virus. The symptoms cannot be ignored. Taking your infected dog to the vet clinic is the best option for your dog surviving from the exposure of the virus. It is best way to determine what is wrong with your dog is to have the Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay test also known as the (ELISA Test) performed, and blood tests done. The virus has taken many lives of dogs, and unfortunately there isn't a cure for the virus. But you can try to prevent it with the correct vaccinations. Every dog deserves to live a nice happy life!