Acquiring a new puppy is a huge responsibility. You are responsible for its health and well-being, so it’s important to understand what you need to provide. Food, love, and training are important but giving your puppy vaccinations may make the difference between life and death. The most important thing you can do for your puppy is vaccinating for Parvovirus.
At Guthrie Pet Hospital we are seeing an influx of Parvo cases this year. Since there is no cure for Parvo, it is much better to protect your puppy with a series of three vaccines about one month apart. Without this full series of vaccines your puppy is not protected and at risk for this horrible disease. Treatment of Parvovirus involves supportive care of secondary dehydration and infection. The cost of vaccines will vary depending on your location. However, I can assure you that the cost is a fraction compared to the cost of treatment.
What is Parvovirus?
It’s a virus that attacks all rapidly dividing cells which includes white blood cells and the cells lining of your puppy’s intestines. Bloody diarrhea begins when the cells lining the intestinal tract begin to die. Vomiting and diarrhea along with anorexia cause severe dehydration. Without any white blood cells, your puppy will also get an infection.
Parvo is easily diagnosed based on symptoms, history of not being properly vaccinated, and a simple fecal test. Treatment includes intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, medications to stop vomiting, and antibiotics to fight infections. Without treatment, your puppy will most likely die a horrible death from dehydration and infection. Hospitalization and care at a veterinary clinic are the best options, but it’s expensive. Depending on the size of your dog and your location the cost of parvo treatment can range from $500 to over $1000. Unfortunately, many people can’t afford this and try to treat at home with fluids under the skin and injectable medication. Home care is better than nothing but not ideal for your puppy. Veterinarians have training and experience to help them access your puppy daily and adjust their treatment as needed.
All puppies should be vaccinated at eight, twelve and sixteen weeks of age. Without all three vaccines, your pet may not be protected. Why? Your puppy is protected early in life from these viruses from antibiotics in its mother’s milk. These maternal antibodies start to decrease somewhere between eight and sixteen weeks of age. Because we don’t know exactly when these maternal antibodies are no longer present, we must do a series of vaccines to try and protect your pet from this horrible disease.
At Guthrie Pet Hospital we believe preventative medicine is the most important thing you can do for the health and well-being of your pet. Your pet should receive an annual exam and vaccines every year follow these puppy vaccines. Deworming, heartworm and flea/tick prevention are another important aspect of caring for your puppy.