Although it’s sometimes difficult to read about diseases that could affect your dog, knowing the symptoms can help you identify a problem more easily. And with diseases that are as deadly as parvovirus, detecting the symptoms as quickly as possible is absolutely crucial to save your dog’s life.
This viral disease is extremely contagious, and is most deadly in puppies and older dogs. But in fact, it can seriously affect and even kill dogs at any age.
How do I know if my dog has parvovirus?
There are many symptoms that can indicate that your dog has a health problem, but unfortunately, the symptoms of parvovirus are very similar to other illnesses, and it’s easy to confuse it for something else if you don’t assess them correctly.
The most important thing is to remain calm, inspect your dog, compare his symptoms with those described here and evaluate them. You should keep in mind that symptoms will worsen progressively; that is, they will start out mild but then quickly become serious.
This is why it’s easy to mistake it for a simple case of indigestion or any other similar illness. You have to pay special attention with puppies, given that they are more defenseless in terms of their immune systems.
What are the symptoms of parvovirus in a dog?
There are the main symptoms of this disease. They can appear mild or aggressive depending on how far the disease has progressed.
- Diarrhea with blood: This is one of the main characteristics of parvovirus, diarrhea or soft stool that contains red or dark brown blood. It’s generally accompanied by a very strong, foul odor, much stronger than in normal feces.
- Increase in body temperature: One of the first symptoms you may notice is your dog getting a fever. Temperature should be taken rectally, and a fever in dogs is considered 39.5°C (103.1°F) or higher in adult dogs or 36.5°C (97.7°F) or higher in puppies.
- Feeling down: Your dog will definitely show signs of feeling sick, lack of appetite, fatigue, doesn’t feel like playing or even moving, etc. This disease takes a lot out of him and it’s common for it to deplete his energy and mood.
- Vomiting: It can sometimes cause vomiting, usually just foam although there could be some stomach contents, too. Panting, dizziness or difficulty breathing may also be associated symptoms.
This virus viciously attacks the dog’s intestinal system, causing hemorrhages that can be seen in the dog’s feces. Keep in mind that the blood from the hemorrhages can be very dark, almost black, or sometimes reddish… whatever the color, it isn’t normal for a dog to have blood in his stool.
What do I do if I find symptoms of parvovirus?
This virus acts very quickly, so if you find any of these symptoms in your puppy or dog, you should immediately call a veterinarian. Only a vet can verify through medical tests whether it is in fact parvovirus.
The sooner you start treatment, the better your dog’s chances of survival. That’s why acting quickly is critical; don’t put a visit to the vet off until tomorrow if you can do it today.
Tragically, many dogs do not survive this disease, and there are no guarantees that the treatment will be completely effective.
If you aren’t sure, the best thing to do is consult your vet. You know what they say: “Better safe than sorry.”