Facts About Parvovirus and Your New Puppy
The correct term for what most dog owners simply call Parvo, is Canine Parvovirus Type 2, or CPV2. Without treatment the disease is highly fatal, with over 90% of infected puppies and dogs dying sometimes from Parvo itself, other times dying from a secondary infection or dehydration.
Amazingly enough Parvo was not identified until 1978 and at that time it spread quickly to be known worldwide in less than two years. It is mostly exclusive to canines, but can occur in a mild form in mink and raccoons.
Puppies are at the highest risk, particularly if they have not been vaccinated. It must be pointed out that vaccination is not 100% effective and vaccinated pups (and dogs) can still get Parvo. Adult dogs can also suffer from Parvo although typically their survival rate is better and many will not even show symptoms. Vaccination against Parvo tends to decrease the severity of the virus in dogs that do get sick even though they were vaccinated against it.
Some dog breeds, mostly those with black and brown (or tan) markings, such as Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers seem more at risk. Pit Bull Terriers also tend to have a higher than average risk for this virus.
Parvo spreads easily because dogs do not even have to be in contact with one and other. The virus can live in the environment for a period of time (several months) and can be carried home on shoes or clothing.
The puppy who has the Parvo virus will usually show symptoms after 5 days, and usually within 10, from the date of exposure. This is one reason every puppy sold, adopted, or given away, should come with a minimum two week (14 day) health guarantee.
- Loss of Appetite
- Diarrhea (tends to be dark, bloody, and very smelly, especially at advanced stages)
A stool sample is taken to a veterinarian, who will have the proper testing equipment. If the puppy is very ill it too should be taken to the veterinarian. Always call ahead! If you have to take the pup to the veterinarian, use a carrier.
Without treatment a puppies chances of survival are less than 10 % and there are no quick and easy “home remedies”. A sick puppy must be taken to the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will work to rehydrate the puppy and help it to recover through one of several medications available to their use.
The cost of treatment includes the fact that the puppy will typically have to remain at the veterinarian for one or more days (often on an IV). Typically with treatment there is an 80% - 90% survival rate depending on how sick the pup was before being taken to the veterinarian. It must also be mentioned that pups and adult dogs who have had at least one vaccination have a much better chance for survival than those with none.
Parvo is best prevented through vaccination. A puppy should not be taken from its breeder until at least 3 days after its first vaccination, and boosters must be given according to schedule (provided by the veterinarian).
Owners of young puppies (under 6 months) should not go anywhere that large numbers of dogs gather – particularly if there may be unvaccinated dogs (the dog park for example).
Owners of young puppies should not come into contact with other pups where vaccinations are not known.
Puppies who are not fully vaccinated should never leave their owners house or fully fenced yard.
People who own breeding dogs must keep those dogs in a special area – a whelping room. Owners need to change their footwear before entering this room, and should change all clothing if they have been around other dogs. Guests should be kept out of the room and only allowed to view the pups through a window, or need to be required to change their footwear at least.
The other Type of Type 2 Parvo
Although people have mostly heard of the Intestinal form of Parvo (as we have mentioned above), there is a second, less common type, known as Cardiac Parvo. This form of parvo hits unborn pups and those under 8 weeks of age. In this case (it is the same virus) the virus attacks the puppies heart muscle, it usually dies after appearing to struggle to breathe. The risk of this type of parvo can be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, by having the parent dogs vaccinated, and keeping the pregnant bitch at home and away from other dogs.
Other Parvo Facts
Bleach is the only disinfectant that kills the Parvo virus. Be aware that plastic food bowls cannot be properly disinfected and should be thrown out and replaced with ceramic or stainless steel.
People looking for a puppy are advised never to accept a puppy that has not had at least one vaccination, and come with a minimum 12 day health guarantee.
After finding your puppy has had Parvo,you should immediately inform your neighbors, and the place you got the puppy from (if it has been less than 10 days). You must use bleach throughout your home, and yard where possible (patio, and garden furniture). Mow the lawn frequently and throw away the clippings. Bleach the bottoms of your shoes. Stay away from other puppies.
If you have ever had a case of Parvovirus in your neighborhood, and certainly if there was a case in the past two years, you should not consider getting a young, new puppy, however you may want to get an older puppy that has had all its vaccinations, or even a fully vaccinated adult dog.
Adult dogs often get parvo but show no symptoms. They shed the virus thus it is not uncommon for a puppy to come down with Parvo when there have been no other reported cases in the area.
Parvo may be more common in the spring as this is when lots of dog feces that were under the snow are now exposed or at least the virus that was in the feces is now exposed.
Puppies who have just been taken from their home and/or mother may show symptoms like Parvo - particularly lethargy, and diarrhea, these are often related to stress and/or diet change, however if the pup has not been vaccinated, or the symptoms are severe, or last long, Parvo should be suspected.
If you Suspect your Dog, or Puppy, has Parvo:
Call you veterinarian at once, most have 24 hour service, and are on-call on weekends. If your veterinarian is unavailable find one who is!
Collect a fecal sample, even if it is watery diarrhea.
The veterinarian will instruct you if they want the dog and the sample brought to their office, or only the sample. Again, if you must take the animal to the veterinarian, use a carrier (or cardboard box if you do not have a carrier and the dog is small enough)!
Hydrate the pup if you can by encouraging it to drink. Keep other people away from the pup.
Other Dog Health Links
The past few years the quality of many of the commercial dog food brands has come in to question. Many dog foods contain corn, which is nothing but filler, questionable meat bi-products, chemicals and preservatives. Multiple dog food scares have left owners uncertain on what brands are safe to feed their beloved pets. More and more people are choosing to feed their dogs something different from commercial food. Many people are feeding their dogs a raw diet and loving it. Those who would like an alternative to commercial food but are not quite comfortable with a raw diet, making your own dog food might be a perfect compromise.
Making your own dog food is quite easy to do and can be done for cheaper than buying a high quality commercial dog food. Homemade food can also be made in large amounts and frozen so you do not need to spend time daily making it. There are many dog food recipes online but it is just as easy to make your own. Be sure the foods you use are safe and that the food consists of 30% starch, 30% vegetable and 40% meat.
For the starch, brown rice, oats or pasta work well.
Vegetables and fruits you can choose from are carrots, squash, pumpkin, cucumber, cauliflower, yams, sweet potatoes, lettuce, beets, peas, parsnips, zucchini, watermelon, other melons, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples (no seeds, they are poisonous), cooked beans.
Lean beef, lamb, skinless chicken, venison, buffalo, elk, moose, musk Ox, turkey, rabbit, duck, boneless fish, cooked eggs, small amounts of beef and chicken liver are all excellent meat choices.
Vegetables/fruits that are not safe to use are spinach, beet greens, chard, onions, garlic, leek, tomato, potato, bell peppers, corn on the cob/corn, grapes, raisins, rhubarb, mushrooms, avocadoes, broccoli and raw beans.
Chicken skin and fat trimming are not healthy and raw fish should be avoided. Tuna sadly contains too much mercury to be safe. Large amounts of Liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity so should never be given.
Nutmeg, sugar, chocolate, nuts, milk, yeast dough, seeds and fruit pits, wheat, baby food, coffee/tea, hops, potato, salt, dairy products, apple seeds, apricot/cherry/peach pits and mustard seeds should never be given.
Calcium is also a vital aspect of your dog’s diet and can by simply added by topping their food each night with some unflavoured no fat yogurt. Yogurt can help dogs keep a balanced digestive tract and can help stop gassiness.
A few points to keep in mind:
Fresh or frozen veggies are best; do not use canned veggies as they have additives.
Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than humans have and cannot digest most vegetables whole or in large chunks. Be sure to mash vegetables up well.
Remember to feed no white coloured/bleached foods. When possible try to avoid wheat too, as it tends to make dogs gassy.
All Fish and Pork should be well cooked.
A canine multivitamin can be added to insure he gets everything he needs.
When preparing homemade dog food, it is best to vary the recipes so that your dog gets an array of nutrients.
Talk to your vet before changing to a homemade diet.
All meat should be lean and not covered in fat.
Feeding a homemade diet does take more work than simply buying a bag of kibble. However, knowing you are doing the best you can to keep your dog healthy is well worth the effort.
Some cat owners will have a strange thing happen at some time or another... their cat will pee on their bed. We all know cats are suppose to urinate in their litter box, but what are the reasons that some don't?
Some of the places that cats will select to urinate, other than their litter box, are on a bed, sofa, towels, laundry, or even carpeting. You will note they seldom pee on the floor. Just to clear things up – we are not referring to “Spraying” or marking behavior which is most often seen in male cats and is characterized by them standing with their rear end facing a (usually) vertical surface. They “shoot” their urine, and typically twitch their tail at this time. This article is about cats who empty their bladder on the bed, towels, and such, rather than "marking territory" with small amounts of urine.
There are basically three reasons why cats pee on the bed, towels, or what have you. One is that they have a reason for not using their litter box (there are many reasons for this), an other is because you have made these sources available to them, and finally it is because these things smell like you. Let us look into these factors further.
Reasons for a Cat Not Using the Litter Box
There are a multitude of reasons cats fail to use their litter box to urinate. They could have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), they could have a behavioral problem, or somehow you failed to keep the litter clean, locatable, and of the right type of litter. Perhaps another cat is not allowing them to use their litter box, or the door was shut to the room where it is.
There are so many reasons, in fact, that if a cat is having this problem, one should try to determine the source, a link is available here to help finding out the cause of a cats refusal to use the litter box.
Peeing on the floor is not fun, it splatters, and cats know this. They sometimes have the same problem when their litter box gets so low that all the litter is piled up on one side of the box. They know that fabric is absorbent, and will not cause urine to splatter on their legs. When a kitten cannot find a litter box it will look to whatever is available.
Smells Like You
Your bed, your towels, your dirty laundry on the floor, these things all smell like you. Of course people will try saying that your cat is marking your stuff as its own, but really we do not know what the cat is thinking when it urinates on your bed or clothing. Many theories exist, including that they use this as a way of stating their anger with you, but this is really just guess work. The fact is your cat does not pee on you (hopefully), just your soft stuff, so perhaps your cat thinks of this in a familiar sort of way.
What Can be Done to Prevent, or End, the Problem of a Cat Peeing on your Stuff
Assuming again that the cat is spayed or neutered, and is not spraying... and assuming the cat is not suffering from any kind of urinary tract infect, diabetes, and so forth, there are some things we can do. First amend the problem as mentioned in the link also mentioned above relating to why it cats fail to use the litter box in the first place.
Keep bedroom doors shut and/or keep clothing picked up or in a hamper (with a lid). Try spending a few minutes every day with the cat, patting it, or giving it treats. Keep the home as stress free as possible (do not allow kids to chase your cats). If you must, shut the cat up in the room where the litter box is located at night (with food and water of course), or when you are away, thus reinforcing it to use the litter box, but only if you have filled it with the correct litter, and it is placed in an appropriate spot to begin with (not next to a laundry machine or furnace).
Be aware that cats do not understand discipline for this problem. Rubbing the cats nose in “it” will not help, and may only add to the stress and confusion the cat is experiencing – thus making the problem worse.
Please read the link on why cats fail to use their litter box as this is the start to the problem of them using your bed, towels, and so forth, as a litter option.
The nose is a vital part of the cat’s ability to perceive his surroundings. His sense of smell is often remarkable as he can smell all sorts of scents. His sense of smell however, may get affected due to several illnesses caused by viruses, pollens and bacteria. Some of these may manifest with symptoms of a runny nose, sneezing and fever. It is important for cat owners to isolate their sick cat from other pets in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Owners are also encouraged to bring their cat to the vet for evaluation.
But can a cat get a runny nose cold from being too cold? How do cats cope with this cold? These are just some of the more common questions that cat owners pose regarding the health of their pet cat when the cat is exposed to cold weather or especially during winter.
During Cold Weather
When the cat is exposed to cold temperatures during cold weather, the nose of the feline becomes dry. This usually results in the drying of the nose’s sensitive membrane which blocks irritants that cause colds. When the sensitive membrane is unable to block off pollens, bacteria and viruses from passing into the respiratory system of the cat, the feline becomes more susceptible to infection that usually results in a runny nose.
The most prominent sign of cat nasal infection is the presence of a thick mucus coming out from the cat’s nose. Other symptoms of cat colds include heavy breathing, lethargy, sneezing, and breathing through its mouth. Runny nose among cats is characterized by a watery discharge from the nose for a few hours, which in such case, the cat should be brought to a veterinarian. The discharge may also turn yellow and this is often associated with a bacterial infection.
When the cat sneezes for several hours and then the sneezing suddenly stops, then it may be because of an irritation in the nose. When the cat grabs its nose and sneezes hard, then something may have been stuck in its nose. If the cat sneezes and has sniffles for a whole day, then it may have a respiratory infection.
It is recommended that cats with colds are brought to a veterinarian given the complex nasal passages of the feline. Veterinarians usually advise cat owners to increase air humidity using a vaporizer particularly in a small space to help in liquifying the nasal discharge. A humidifier can also help stop nasal irritation.
Veterinarians also will prescribe antibiotics to help the feline avoid certain bacterial infections, allowing its body to fight to resist the viral infection that caused the cold. Veterinarians will also look into the symptoms and its eating behavior.
So can a cat get a runny nose cold from being too cold? The answer is yes. It is therefore best to take measures to avoid exposing the cat for prolonged periods in cold weather. Many owners opt to keep their pets indoor during these conditions.