Dogs, although they have better health than people, still get sick, including serious infectious diseases, such as parvovirus enteritis. The virus that causes it develops at lightning speed and is very dangerous for four-legged friends. Therefore, the owner should know how parvovirus enteritis manifests itself in dogs and what to do to help the pet.
Causes of the disease
The causative agent of the infection is a virus from the Parvovirus family, there are 2 types:
- Type I - contained in the feces of healthy animals and does not differ in pathogenicity.
- Type II - contains DNA, has no shell, is highly resistant to physical and chemical effects.
The main source of infection is the feces of infected dogs. It is believed that the virus with feces is released within a week and a half, and its maximum amount, the most dangerous for infection, reaches on the 5th day.
Also, within 2-12 days, the virus may be in the vomit mucosa. Due to the fact that the pathogen is resistant to various threatening factors and has the ability to persist for a long time in the environment, it can be dangerous for several months.
In some cases, with a small dose of the virus that has entered the body of the animal, the disease proceeds without pronounced signs. With a large amount of it, symptoms characteristic of parvovirus enteritis occur.
Sick animals secrete viruses within 14-21 days after infection, and even after treatment they are contagious for a long time. The causative agent is able to remain for a long time on the coat, legs of the dog, which is very dangerous for pets that have not been vaccinated.
The virus can be transmitted as follows:
- during contact of a sick animal with healthy brethren;
- through care items - a bowl, toys, combs, etc .;
- through food;
- through soil containing infected feces;
- the dog can become infected from a person who is the carrier of the virus - often the owners bring it on shoes and outerwear.
Most often, the causative agent of the infection enters the body of the animal through the nasal (intranasal) or oral (oral) cavity. The spread of parvovirus infection peaks in late spring-summer and from October to March.
In the course of clinical trials, specialists did not establish a relationship between susceptibility to the disease and the breed and sex of dogs, but only with age. Most often puppies fall ill for 2-12 months.
Symptoms of parvovirus enteritis in dogs
The disease is insidious, as it can be accompanied by a wide variety of symptoms, which complicates its diagnosis. And sometimes the signs of infection are very mild, and the owner does not even suspect that his dog is seriously ill. In the case of this pathology, not only health, but also the life of the dog depends on its early detection and timely treatment.
To notice the primary manifestations of the disease, the owner should be more attentive to the pet, noticing even a slight change in behavior. With any signs, you can not hesitate, you should immediately bring the dog to a veterinary clinic.
Symptoms of parvovirus may include the following conditions:
- Lethargy . The dog becomes less active, and even walks and favorite games do not cause the same joy. The dog may not respond to what is happening around the action, rarely gets up.
- Fever . An indicator above 39 ° C signals the development of an infectious disease. But there is one caveat - sometimes with enteritis, the temperature may rise just before the death of the pet, so you should pay attention to other signs of the disease.
- Pain symptomatology . The incubation period of parvovirus is 5-10 days. And if the animal begins to arch its back when stroking, and while touching the stomach, it tries to move away, so the pet is in pain - this is the first manifestation of the disease.
- Vomiting . This symptom occurs already a day after the incubation period. Initially, vomit consists of the remnants of undigested food, later becoming grayish mucus.
- Diarrhea Feces are liquid, first yellowish or greenish in color, later red.
An ill pet refuses food, does not drink, the body quickly loses moisture, which threatens with rapid dehydration. Due to excruciating pain and developed heart failure, the disease can be fatal in 2-3 days.
When a four-legged patient with signs of parvovirus enteritis enters the vet clinic, the doctor immediately tries to establish a preliminary diagnosis. Sudden development of a pathological condition, vomiting, diarrhea with blood, dehydration are the main symptoms of parvovirus.
In addition, infection almost always causes an increase in mesenteric lymph nodes, which can be detected by palpation. For a more accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian prescribes a number of laboratory tests:
- PCR method (polymerase chain reaction) - an effective way to detect the pathogen in the feces of a sick animal;
- RGA (hemagglutination reaction) - reveals the antigen of a pathogenic agent;
- RGTA - analysis identifying the pathogen;
- electron microscopy - the study of feces of a sick animal;
- histology - used posthumously, detects tissue necrosis, a critical decrease in lymphocytes in the small intestine.
In modern veterinary medicine, ELISA analysis, an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, has often been used, considering it to be a more informative and reliable method for diagnosing parvovirus in dogs.
Important for accurate diagnosis are differential techniques. The specialist should distinguish parvovirus from other types of enteritis - alimentary, caused by pathogenic bacteria, toxins.
First of all, the dog needs emergency medical care, but if at the same time there is no way to call a doctor or deliver the dog to the clinic, then the owner needs the following:
- it is important to ensure that the dog is completely at peace, not to give him water and food;
- You can’t do an enema on your own unless the veterinarian has recommended it;
- you can give the dog a little vaseline or any vegetable oil (the first is more effective), it is not absorbed into the walls of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, but envelops them and helps to eliminate toxic substances.
Dog owners are advised to pre-form a home veterinary first-aid kit so that everything you need for primary care is at hand:
- several syringes of different volumes (5-20 ml) and interchangeable needles to them;
- analgesics and antispasmodics - No-spa (Drotaverin), Analgin; it is best that these are ampoules for injection, since parvovirus is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, and the tablets will not be absorbed by the body of a sick animal;
- Sulfocamphocaine, Cordiamine - drugs that support the work of the heart.
Such events are suitable only for short-term care and will not allow the animal to be completely cured of parvovirus enteritis. Veterinarians in this case use an integrated approach.
Intensive infusion procedures
First of all, the animal loses a lot of moisture, it is required to fill the deficit and compensate for its subsequent loss. For this, droppers are prescribed with balanced crystalloid solutions.
The doctor approximately determines the amount of fluid lost and prescribes a double amount. This allows you to normalize the balance and avoid serious complications. Often, experts prescribe Normosol, in which a solution of potassium hydrochloric acid is added.
It is important to monitor the amount of glucose in the blood and, when required, add this component to the infusion fluid. To correct persistent hypokalemia (a low concentration of potassium ions), a certain amount of the hydrochloric acid magnesium salt is added to the infusion solution.
The use of antibacterial agents
Experts recommend a parenteral (bypassing the digestive tract) method of administering these drugs, since parvovirus prescribes broad-spectrum antibiotics that can destroy the protective membrane of the intestinal mucosa, which increases the risk of sepsis.
Often, veterinarians prescribe injections of Gentamicin and Ampicillin, with an 8-hour interval, but take into account that aminoglycosides have renal toxicity.
Some doctors, if the dog does not show neutropenia or a fever, recommend drugs from a number of first-generation cephalosporins, and the previous combination is used if there are signs of sepsis.
Drugs capable of neutralizing endotoxic substances
Their dog is given during antibiotic therapy to accelerate the process of elimination of endotoxins and to prevent the patient from deteriorating. In addition, the means of this group reduce the likelihood of a septic shock condition.
The drugs are diluted with saline and administered with a dropper, for half an hour or an hour.
Metoclopramide is prescribed, but do not forget about caution, since adequate rehydration is required beforehand to eliminate the risks of severe hypotension.
Such drugs are necessary when, due to prolonged copious vomiting, it is impossible to maintain the water-electrolyte balance.
An equally important aspect that affects the results of therapy. First of all, at the first sign of parvovirus infection, the owner should stop feeding and watering the pet. The dog should be on a hungry diet for at least 2-3 days.
A little bit of water can be given to the dog only a day after the vomiting stops. After the pet begins to feed with food, ground into gruel. The food should be fractional - initially food is given in small portions, every 2-2.5 hours.
Rice broth, chicken breast broth, flaxseed broth are suitable as the first dishes for a sick dog. If the dog does not fit the bowl or does not have the strength to eat on his own, then you can carefully introduce liquid food into his mouth using a syringe.
Gradually, other foods are introduced into the diet - one per day. You can give your pet a chopped egg, vermicelli diluted with chicken stock.
A recovering animal needs carbohydrate foods that replenish the body’s energy resources. It is also recommended that the dog give boiled fish, non-fat, separated from the bones, preferably marine, 2-3 times a week.
To normalize the intestinal microflora, fermented milk products are useful - kefir, yogurt, fermented baked milk, yogurt, but they should not contain sugar and artificial additives.
At the beginning of recovery, you should not give your pet meat, especially raw meat. Also not the best products are milk, fatty, pickled, salty foods, spices and seasonings.
To protect your pet from such a dangerous disease, you should take care of regular vaccination. In addition, it is important to ensure good conditions and good nutrition for the dog.
A parvovirus infection can kill an animal in a couple of days, especially for puppies, therefore preventive measures are required, and if the infection does occur, timely professional help from a veterinarian. This is the only way to help your four-legged friend.