If you are a paw parent, irrespective of the breed, you are probably scared of the word ParvoVirus. If you are still unaware of this deadly disease, read on to know how parvo can affect your Rottweiler puppies and what measures you can take to safeguard them.
Canine Parvovirus is an extremely contagious and serious disease that can turn fatal for your Rotties in less than 45 hours. As a paw parent, there are many diseases you need to be aware of and their symptoms too. If you find your Rottweiler puppies showing any symptoms of parvo, you need to visit a vet immediately. According to Dr. Linda Simon in this study Rotties, in general, are more prone to being infected by this virus, especially when they are still little pups. While other breeds might still give it a good fight, Rottweilers often succumb to this disease. It is usually the black/tan breeds who fall prey more easily. Be it Dobermans, Labrador Retrievers, or Pit Bulls, parvo seems worst for these breeds.
Partially vaccinated or absolutely unvaccinated Rottweiler puppies have less than 20% chance of surviving if they do not get intense and immediate care. This is why if you are vigilant and can spot the early symptoms, their chance of survival and recovery can go up to 90%! So don’t start panicking just yet. Let’s get into the details now.
What is Parvovirus ?
Canine parvovirus is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs. CPV is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces. There are multiple strains of this virus but puppies are usually affected by CPV2. Even under CPV2, there are sub-strains, and new strains keep emerging frequently. There are vaccines in place for the many strains but they are being constantly upgraded to match the newer strains.
The spread does not have to happen from direct contact. It can be transmitted by hands, tires, shoes, other animals, etc. Parvo in Rottweiler puppies is observed as ‘enteritis’ that attacks and destroys cells lining the pup’s intestines. By destroying the intestines, the virus stops the pups from absorbing and fluids and nutrients, causing severe gastrointestinal problems. It can result in canine diarrheas, vomiting, and severe dehydration. An extreme fluid loss will lead to shock, organ failure, and then death. And all this can happen in less than 48 hours!
There is one strain of parvo that targets the heart. It is less common and is usually found in pups less than 8 weeks old. It can cause unexpected death in a very short time.
The best way to protect your Rottweiler puppies against the virus is to vaccinate them. But vaccines don’t leave them immune to the virus altogether. The vaccine can be complex and your pups’ hereditary immunity also plays a part in leaving them vulnerable to parvo despite the vaccines. So apart from the vaccine, another step you can take is to keep your Rottweiler puppies away from unvaccinated and stray dogs until they have received 4 parvo vaccinations.
The vaccinations start when the puppies are 7 to 8 weeks old. The next round comes when they are 10 weeks old. The third vaccination could be around the 14th week while the fourth vaccination can be around when they are 16-20 weeks old. Vaccination offers the best protection against the virus so make sure your Rottweiler puppies don’t miss their shots.
Similar to many other viruses, parvo too has about a 14-day incubation period. This is the time between when the pups are exposed to the virus and when they start showing proper symptoms. The potency of the virus means pups start showing symptoms within 3 days but sometimes it may take up to 2 weeks. The feces of infected pups often carry the virus many days before symptoms start showing. And even after they fully recover, the virus can still be found in their feces for another 2 weeks.
Treatment of Parvo In Rottweiler Puppies
This virus still does not have any cure. The only thing you have to remember is that each minute counts once you observe the symptoms. If you can immediately rush to a vet, the chances of recovering can be high. The severe blood loss, dehydration, sepsis, organ damage, etc need immediate attention.
One of the most important parts of the intensive care they need is IV fluids. The water and blood loss means they need external and constant sources to maintain the electrolyte balance.
If the pup develops secondary bacterial infections, antibiotics usually help. The overall treatment plan often includes steroids, anti-nausea drugs, and other medications. Since the virus can impact each puppy differently, the treatment too tends to vary.
If the Rottweiler puppies already suffer from other health conditions like poor nutrition, parasites, stress, etc., the virus will affect them more severely.
The worst stage of CPV2 lasts for about 7-10 days. If the pups can survive this phase, their chances of a full recovery are far higher. By the 12th day, vomiting and other symptoms will decrease.
Even when they recover from the initial bout, the virus makes an immense impact on their health. Rottweiler puppies can take several weeks and even months to fully regain the lost energy. But the effects are not long term, so help them through the recovery phase. On a positive note, pups once recovered from Parvovirus will probably not get infected again in their whole lives. But the problem is there are multiple strains of the virus. If your pup recovers from CPV2, they might not get infected by it again, but a different strain might attack them later.
Apart from the common symptoms mentioned above, here are some other symptoms you might look out for in your Rottweiler puppies:
- Sudden change in diet and appetite
- Parasitic illnesses like Coccidiosis or Giardia
Rottweiler Puppies Parvo Decontamination
Viruses, in general, tend to be very hardy and survive in the worst of environments. Parvo too can survive for long under harsh environments. Sometimes even for years. Extremes of temperature, direct sunlight, rain, and most cleaning chemicals and products don’t matter to parvovirus at all.
One of the tried and tested methods of decontaminating your surroundings is to use a solution of water and chlorine bleach. Take half a cup of bleach for each gallon of water. Use it to thoroughly clean all hard surfaces like walls, floors, toys, food bowls, and outdoor concrete areas.
You can spray this solution on your backyard soil and grass too, but the virus seems to persist in these areas longer.
Ultimately, the best protection against the virus is vaccination and vigilance. If you notice symptoms, don’t wait for a day or anything. Just rush your Rottweiler puppies to a vet and let them take care of the parvo. Your pups deserve the best care they can get. Don’t worry unnecessarily and just take the right steps. They will ensure your pups’ safety.