bloody stool




Ever gone to get a new puppy and it suddenly died? Or realised that your puppy is continually vomiting with diarrhoea? It could be suffering from the disease known as Canine Parvoviral Infection. This disease has become a major distress to breeders and pet owners. 

As the name suggests, Parvo is a viral infection. It is one of the most stable viruses in the environment. It is heat stable and can resist cold temperatures as well. The virus is also resistant to several disinfectants available and can therefore survive for several months in a contaminated environment. The canine parvovirus targets animals from the Canidae family such as wolves, dogs and coyotes. Among dogs, puppies and unvaccinated adults are most susceptible.  

Transmission can be direct through contact with an infected dog or indirect through contact with objects contaminated usually with faeces of an infected dog. The virus has a preference for rapidly developing cells so it mostly targets the bone marrow and the walls of the small intestines. It  damages the intestinal lining leading to bloody diarrhoea. Damage to the intestines allow other bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause other secondary infections.

Signs of the disease include vomiting, pungent smelling diarrhoea (bloody), loss of appetite, general weakness (lethargy). Diagnosis is based on clinical signs and history. Confirmation of the disease is through laboratory tests such as PCR, ELISA and Electron Microscopy.

Survival from infection is unpredictable and death is usually due to dehydration or septic shock. There is no particular or specific treatment regime to this disease. Usually, dogs recover after giving supportive care such as replacing lost fluids and treating secondary bacterial infection. It is recommended to feed your pet with bland diets during that period until recovery. Alert your vet when your pet starts showing signs of the disease. 

Vaccinate your pet between 5-6 weeks of age. Follow your veterinarian’s recommendation for parvovirus vaccination to protect your pet. 

Thompson Ekua Esuon

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