WHAT IS THE DOG EPIDEMIC (PARVOVIROSE IN DOGS)?
The dog epidemic, medically called parvovirosis, is a highly contagious infectious disease in dogs. It is caused by canine parvovirus (CPV). It occurs all over the world and is primarily manifested by severe vomiting, high fever and diarrhoea in dogs. However, only about ten percent of infected dogs show symptoms.
In general, a dog with parvovirus has a good chance of recovery if it is diagnosed and treated early enough (see probiotics such as yogurt). Especially in young dogs that have not yet been vaccinated and in older animals that also suffer from other diseases, severe progressions and complications can occur.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF THE DOG EPIDEMIC (PARVOVIROSIS IN DOGS)?
Dog epidemic (parvovirus in dogs) is an infectious disease caused by variants of canine parvovirus 2 (CPV-2) of the family Parvoviridae. Infected dogs excrete the pathogens with the faeces, possibly also with vomit and saliva.
Other dogs may be infected with the dog’s faecal-oral disease, for example through food contaminated with faeces. Because the parvoviruses are very stable, they can survive at room temperature and remain contagious outside the body for up to six months.
HOW DOES THE DOG’S DISEASE MANIFEST ITSELF (PARVOVIROSIS IN DOGS)?
The dog epidemic (parvovirus in dogs) only causes symptoms in about ten percent of infected dogs. The other dogs show no symptoms, but excrete the pathogens via the faeces and form antibodies against the parvoviruses. This means that they are well protected against the dog’s disease within the next two to three years. The antibodies also pass from the mother via the placenta and the first breast milk (colostrum) to the puppies and prevent infection with the pathogens during the first eight to twelve weeks.
If the disease causes symptoms, they appear about seven to 14 days after the infection. The dog looks rejected, refuses to eat and has a high fever. At first the dog vomits, a few hours later watery, sometimes bloody diarrhoea also occurs. The loss of fluid can cause the animal to dry out considerably.
Parvoviruses rarely cause severe heart disease, especially in young dogs. This so-called cardiac form of parvovirus (“puppy myocarditis”) mainly affects puppies between three and twelve weeks old. They often die without showing typical signs of the disease. Only shortly before death do they experience shortness of breath, cardiac arrhythmia and pulmonary edema. This severe form of parvovirosis in dogs is now virtually non-existent due to the vaccination of breeding bitches and the associated basic immunisation of puppies.
Further possible complications of the dog disease are blood poisoning (sepsis) and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) in dogs. Certain dog breeds such as Bullterrier, Dobermann-Pinscher, Labrador Retriever and Rottweiler are more susceptible to the disease. Also particularly at risk are insufficient or unvaccinated puppies, older dogs (especially if the vaccination has not been refreshed and the animals suffer from other diseases at the same time) and dogs in dog breeding, at dog dealers or at dog shows (“show dog disease”), as parvovirus can spread particularly easily in them.
Parvovirus is a viral infection caused by Canine Parvovirus (CPV) in dogs. The original pathogen CPV-2 has now been replaced by 3 newer types (mutants), namely CPV-2a, CPV-2b and CPV-2c. All variants are harmless to humans.
For its proliferation, the virus depends on rapidly dividing cells of the host animal. These are mainly the crypt cells of the small intestine, bone marrow cells and lymphatic cells in the thymus and spleen.
Parvoviruses are very stable in the environment. They are extremely resistant and remain, for example, infectious for at least 6 months at room temperature in feces. They tolerate a pH range of 3 to 11 and survive temperatures of 70°C for over 30 minutes. Special disinfectants are required to kill them.
The virus is excreted by infected animals in large quantities with the faeces. The infection usually occurs fecal-orally through faecal contaminated food, objects such as toys or clothing. Transmission from the mother to its unborn puppies is also possible.
The primary susceptibilities for infection are young animals and dogs that have not been vaccinated or have not been vaccinated sufficiently. Newborns usually do not become ill because they are protected by maternal antibodies (= antibodies transferred from the mother to the puppies). After a few weeks, however, the concentration of these antibodies decreases and the young animals can fall ill if they have not yet built up their own immunity.
In addition, some dog breeds seem to be affected more frequently. These breeds include Rottweiler, Dobermann Pinscher, English Springer Spaniel and German Shepherds. The stay in larger animal groups (in large breeds, homes etc.) favours an infection.