Canine parvovirus or parvo is a life-threatening illness in puppies. The highly infectious disease attacks the intestinal tract and spreads rapidly in a dog. It suppresses white blood cells, the natural defenders in the body, and damages the heart muscles that result in either death or lifelong disorders. Awareness about the risk and symptoms of parvovirus infection in Dachshunds can help you take adequate preventive measures to safeguard your dog.
What is Parvovirus Infection in Dachshunds?
Parvo is a viral infection that may affect Dachshund puppies aged between 4 and 16 weeks. Though it may also impact adult Doxies, puppies are more vulnerable to the illness. With an incubation period of 5 to 10 days, the disease starts as a gastrointestinal disorder, as the parvovirus grows in the intestinal lining. It inhibits the absorption of nutrients or liquids, and vomiting and diarrhea are the initial signs. It leads to acute dehydration, immunity suppression, and cardiac muscle impairment. Most dogs die within 48 to 72 hours.
How is Parvovirus Transmitted to Dachshunds?
Parvo is a contagious disease. The virus is found mostly in the feces of infected dogs and is able to survive for 5 to 6 months in the contaminated soil, streets, carpets, dog bowls, clothes, and shoes. It is highly resistant to disinfectants. Parvovirus infection in Dachshunds occurs when Doxies are exposed to infected objects.
What are the Symptoms Parvovirus Infection in Dachshunds?
Parvo symptoms start to appear in Doxies 5 to 10 days after the infection. Prior to the visible signs, the virus appears in the dog’s feces. The digestive system is the first target of the virus, and the following signs appear, as the infection progresses.
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Acute dehydration, leading to sudden lethargy or fainting
- Foul-smelling feces
- Blood or mucus in stool
- Loss of appetite
- Fever and weight loss
- Increased heart rate
When To Visit the Vet?
If your Dachshund has bloody or foul-smelling diarrhea along with vomiting and depression, you may take him to a vet immediately.
How To Diagnose Parvovirus Infection in Dachshunds?
Physical symptoms are the foremost indication of the parvo infection. Your vet may ask about the signs, history of symptoms, activities of your Doxie, and long-term health problems.
The symptoms often mirror that of intestinal infections caused by parasites, digestive disorders, or even colon inflammation.
Therefore, vets suggest ELISA test to confirm the disease. Your Doxie’s stool is examined to check if he sheds parvovirus. He may also recommend a complete blood profile test and an abdominal ultrasound
Who is at an Increased Risk of Parvovirus Infection?
Parvovirus infection in Dachshunds can be seen at any age. All dogs unless vaccinated are vulnerable to the disease. Puppies face the enhanced risk of canine parvovirus due to their underdeveloped immune system. Certain dog breeds, such as Rottweilers, are more susceptible than others.
The virus transmits through the fecal-oral route. It may also transmit when your dog makes a direct contact with an infected dog. He may also catch the infection by sniffing the feces of an infected dog. Owners may unknowingly bring the virus home by way of shoes soiled by the contaminated ground.
Doxies have a penchant for digging. As a result, they come into contact with the virus in the infected soil. Dogs with weak immune systems are more vulnerable.
Is Parvovirus Infection in Dachshunds Fatal?
Parvo is a life-threatening disease that may cause canine death in 2 to 3 days. Adult dogs have a 50% chance of survival unless the medical treatment is quick and effective.
How To Treat Parvovirus Infection in Dachshunds?
The parvo treatment focuses on reducing symptoms through aggressive care. The dog is administered fluids so that dehydration does not turn life threatening and there is no loss of protein. Antibiotics help fight the infection and prevent its spread. Dogs are provided constant and intense medical support and supervision to stay alive.
The cost of treatment is high, and your Doxie may need to stay in the hospital for almost a week. With no drug to kill the virus in sight, he may need treatment and supportive therapies to recover. Any delay in the treatment may make a recovery more difficult.
How To Prevent Parvovirus Infection in Dachshunds?
- Vaccination of puppies
- Clean home environment
- Preventing your dog from contacting unhealthy dogs
- Limiting your dog’s exposure to potential triggers
- Make sure your dog does not smell or eat feces
- Don’t let your dog chew shoe soles
- Always clean up pet poop in your yard
- Discard the items used by an infected puppy, as disinfection may not be 100% successful
- Don’t allow your puppy to frequent areas where other dogs bathe or eliminate
How Can Vaccination Prevent Parvovirus Infection in Dachshunds?
With no specific drug available to kill parvovirus, prevention is the best defense. Parvovirus vaccination starts as early as the 4th week. Dachshunds receive three shots until the 16th week with a gap of 3 to 4 weeks in between. They also require a booster shot when they turn 1 year. It is advised to repeat the booster dose every 3 years.
Parvovirus vaccination is an essential part of immunization for puppies. However, it is administered in combination with other core vaccines. Your Doxie receives a “5-in-1” combination shot every time he is inoculated prior to 16 weeks. Parvovirus vaccination is clubbed together with distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and adenovirus vaccines.