Applying more than 30 years of experience in veterinary care, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince serves as partner in the Elmhurst Animal Care Center of Illinois. He firmly believes in the value of preventive care to maintain the health of a pet. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince received his DVM from the University of Illinois.
An extremely contagious viral illness, parvovirus aggressively attacks a dog’s digestive system and white blood cells. The disease presents with vomiting, lethargy, and a bloody diarrhea that can cause fatal dehydration. It is transmitted through contact with the feces of an infected dog and can remain in the environment for several months before infecting its next host.
The best way to prevent this disease is to ensure an up-to-date vaccination history. Because parvovirus is extremely dangerous, puppies should receive their first vaccination at six to eight weeks of age. The puppy should also receive boosters spaced four weeks apart for the subsequent two to three months, then another at around the dog’s first birthday. Older dogs may also be vaccinated if they have not received the puppy series. Because some dogs, particularly immuno-compromised and ill animals, are not suited for vaccination, owners should consult with their individual veterinarians before beginning any vaccination series.