Saturdays are always busy here at El Cid. The 28th found the staff here helping carry in a young dog from their car, having received a phone call only minutes before informing us they were on their way. The dog was lethargic, not eating and had bloody diarrhea.

Fearing the worst, Dr Garcia immediately went ahead and tested the dog for Parvovirus.

Parvovirus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problem.

Veterinarians diagnose parvovirus on the basis of clinical signs and laboratory testing. The Enzyme Linked Imunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test has become a common test for parvovirus. The ELISA test kit is used to detect parvovirus in a dog’s stools, and is performed in the vet’s office in about 15 minutes.

The virus is extremely contagious, with young puppies being most susceptible. Sadly in this dog’s case he was suffering from parvo, with the end result being euthanasia.

You can protect your dog from this potential killer by making sure he’s up-to-date on his vaccinations. Parvovirus should be considered a core vaccine for all puppies and adult dogs. It is usually recommended that puppies be vaccinated with combination vaccines that take into account the risk factors for exposure to various diseases.

It is always sad to have animals that come into the clinic with such late stages of an illness. To prevent this make sure that you are on top of your dog’s illness, and can prevent sickness in the early stages.

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