Parvovirus in Puppies

I work at a large hospital located in central Phoenix. For the last two weeks, we have seen a surge in parvovirus infections in puppies. While some of them were not vaccinated to prevent the disease, I am also seeing some dogs who were vaccinated. Here is the problem, in an effort to save money the pet owners bought vaccines from a feed store, pet store or on-line. Some paid their the pup’s breeders to give the shots. In each of these cases, I am concerned that these vaccines were either stored, …

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Tips to Winterize your Pet

Lectro Kitty Window Sill Perch with Optional HeatCold weather is tough on pets. The following recommendations can provide your pet with a much better “quality of life” through the wintertime months:

1)    Update all vaccinations. Increased stress of cold weather lowers the resistance to disease. Your pet needs more than just a Rabies vaccination. Dogs should have DHLPP (Distemper, Adenovirus/infectious canine hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza), and Bordetella boosters each year. Cats should receive FVRCP and Feline Leukemia boosters every year.

Lectro Kitty Window Sill Perch with Optional Heat
2)    Heartworm preventive should be given year-round. The medication kills certain immature stages of the heartworm throughout its journey through the body before it actually reaches the heart. The medication ought to be supplied all year long to make certain all immature heartworms are killed once they get to the stage of susceptibility to the medication.
3)    Internal Parasite Examinations insure your pet is “worm-free”. Internal parasites drain your pet’s blood, protein, and energy.
4)    Feed premium quality diet to fulfill the increased nutritional demands for the duration of cold weather. You get what you pay for in pet foods. “High Protein” labels don’t mean it is “digestible protein”. Pets kept outside should be fed more food to meet their requirements through the winter. Fresh water should always be obtainable. Be sure to provide UNFROZEN water at least twice daily during zero weather. Porcelain bowls will prevent tongues from sticking to it. Steer clear of metal bowls for this reason.There are also heated bowls available to keep the water thawed.
5)    Vitamin supplements, such as Nutrical®,may help increase your pet’s resistance to the effects of cold weather and provide required nutritional elements that often deteriorate once a bag of food has been opened.

6)    Brush your pet every day to maintain its hair coat. Heat in your house may dry the skin. Moisturizers , such as Dermal Soothe Anti-Itch Spray for Dogs & Cats, are available to maintain a healthy coat.
7)    Provide adequate shelter. Supplying adequate shelter from the elements is the key to a healthy outdoor pet. The pet that has a cozy refuge where he can seek shelter from the cold wind, driving rain, sleet, and snow will be much better able to tolerate the cold temperatures. Pet shelters should be tightly constructed and no larger than three times the size of the pet. The doorway should be just large sufficient for the pet to enter and positioned away from the prevailing wind direction. Building the shelter off the ground a couple of inches and adding insulation underneath will significantly add to the pet’s comfort. Be sure all insulation is sealed away from the pet. Position the shelter where it’ll get the most sunlight in the winter. Cedar shavings make the very best bedding. No pet should be out in zero or sub-zero weather for more than a few minutes without adequate shelter. Winter is no time to Begin keeping a pet outside. Acclimatization should begin in warm weather, permitting gradual improve in hair growth as temperatures turn out to be cooler.The best thing to do for your pet is to keep them indoors.
8)    Other Suggestions:
a.    Antifreeze can be deadly. It’s sweet tasting to your pet. Always clean up any spills in the garage or driveway. Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect even a “few licks” by the pet.
b.    Cats like to sleep close to warm car engines. Know where your cat is and honk your horn before beginning the automobile to make sure no neighborhood cats are taking a snooze under the hood.
c.    Chocolate may be fatal. Keep those giant chocolate kisses and other sweets out of reach from your pet.
d.    Salt can hurt paws. Clean the foot pads instantly when coming back inside.There are dog booties available for your pooch.
e. Heated pet beds may help with your pet’s arthritis and keep the chill off.
f. Sweaters and coats can also help dogs maintain their body temperature better.
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Introducing Puppy Care 101

Sad, but true, many puppies never live to see their first birthdays. Some succumb to infections diseases such as distemper and parvovirus, while some loose their lives due to parasites such as hookworms and heartworms. A vast majority of of the puppies are relinquished to animal shelters due to behavioral problems such as house soiling, aggression and destructive behavior.

What saddens me even more is that all of the above problems are preventable with vaccinations, parasite control and obedience training. After 30 years of practicing veterinary medicine, you would think I would eventually see a decline in the diseases, parasites and behavior problems, but alas, the truth is I have actually seen an increase in cases of distemper, parvo, heartworms and abandonment, partly due to the economy and tighter budgets and perhaps partly due to ignorance of what puppies need to survive their first year.

With the help of my internet friends who have been coaching me this last year, I have finally been able to assemble a web site geared to help solve and prevent many of these problems. Today, I am extending an invitation for you to explore my new website,

Although it is named puppy care, the dog training and health articles are great for any dog owner of any age dog. has a complete dog training course inside with helpful tips on:

  • house training
  • crate training
  • barking solutions
  • jumping up on people,
  • separation anxiety
  • submissive urination
  • walking on a leash
  • pet tricks
  • staying out of the garbage
  • eating “poop” also has information on your puppy’s health

  • vaccinations
  • parvovirus and distemper
  • parasite control
  • heartworms
  • spaying and neutering
  • pet insurance
  • dental care
  • flea and tick control
  • skin care
  • allergies

Each week more information will be added for you to read at your leisure. I am hoping to add enough material to go even beyond your puppies first year.

For the next week, I am offering a trial membership of the website. I encourage you to check it out and I will welcome any feed back of the website. I want to know what you like about it and tell me of any topics that you would like to see addressed.

Go now to and register for our free 7 day email mini-series on dog training just for visiting.

Vaccinations in Dogs

Vaccinating your dogVaccinations can protect your dog against serious infectious illnesses, but they arent one size fits all. Your veterinarian will help you select the vaccines your dog needs based on age, health status, lifestyle and other risk factors. Even though he may not need vaccines that often, your dog should have a veterinary checkup every six to twelve months.

Core Vaccines
Core vaccines are those recommended for nearly every dog. Core vaccines for dogs are Canine Distemper, Canine Adenovirus-2, Parvovirus, and Rabies. The first three are usually combined in a single injection given to puppies starting at 6-8 weeks of age and boostered every 3-4 weeks until at least sixteen weeks of age. Thereafter, the combination vaccine is repeated every 1-3 years. Rabies vaccination is given first at 12 to 16 weeks of age and boostered one year later. After that, the Rabies vaccine is repeated every one to three years depending on the laws in your area.

Canine Distemper is a serious, highly contagious disease. It weakens the immune system, leaving infected dogs vulnerable to other infections. Symptoms include fever, coughing, green nasal and eye discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, loss of appetite, thickened toe pads, muscle twitching, seizures, and blindness. Puppies are most susceptible. Distemper is fatal in up to 90% of cases. Fortunately, the vaccination is very effective if given prior to the dogs exposure.

There are two forms of Canine Adenovirus, CAV-1 and CAV-2. Vaccination with CAV-2 provides protection against both. CAV-1 is the cause of Infectious Canine Hepatitis, which damages the liver. CAV-2 is one of several organisms that can cause Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis, or Kennel Cough. Just as you would expect, the main sign is a persistent cough. Its spread mainly in places where large numbers of dogs are in close proximity, such as kennels, shelters, grooming facilities, or dog shows.

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious disease affecting the digestive system. It can also weaken the immune system and damage the heart. Signs include fever, lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration and loss of appetite. It can be fatal, especially in puppies born to un-vaccinated mothers. Parvovirus treatment usually requires hospitalization.

Rabies is an incurable disease of the nervous system that is nearly always fatal. Worse yet, it is transmitted between most animal species, including humans. Although rabies transmission requires direct body fluid contact, even indoor pets can be at risk since sick wild animals may enter homes. Regular rabies vaccination is mandated by law in most states.

Non-Core Vaccines
A myriad of other vaccines are available for dogs. Your veterinarian can help you determine the right ones for your dog.

Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough) is a treatable respiratory illness. It can be caused by CAV-2, Canine Para influenza, and Bordetella bronchiseptica. The combination vaccine normally given to dogs includes CAV-2 and Para influenza. Dogs at high risk of exposure to kennel cough can receive a more potent vaccine, given as nose drops or as an injection that protects against Bordetella as well. This is recommended for dogs that are boarded, groomed professionally, or taken to dog shows.

Leptospirosis is a serious illness that damages the kidneys and liver and can be transmitted to people. Unfortunately, the vaccine provides only moderate protection and can cause allergic reactions. Therefore, some veterinarians do not recommend vaccinating every dog. Dogs at highest risk of exposure are those that are exposed to water that may be contaminated by urine from wild animals or farm animals.

Lyme Disease causes sore joints, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. It is transmitted by ticks and can infect people too. Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. Vaccination for Lyme Disease is recommended for tick-exposed dogs in areas where the disease is common, such as the northeastern U.S.

Canine Coronavirus causes gastrointestinal illness similar to parvovirus, but milder. Because infection is mild and relatively uncommon in many areas, the vaccine is not recommended for all dogs.

Giardia is a parasitic organism that causes diarrhea and can infect other animals and people as well as dogs. Dogs that drink water contaminated by wild animal feces are at highest risk. The vaccine, however, provides only partial protection. Giardia infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Preventive Health Care Beyond Vaccinations
Preventive health care for your dog means more than just vaccinations. Checkups every six to twelve months can catch many health problems while they are easily treatable. Parasite control, good nutrition, and regular dental care are other keys to keeping your dog healthy for years to come.

Canine Parvovirus

Puppy Vet Visit

Canine Parvovirus is a serious, highly contagious disease that affects the digestive system. It is most common in puppies.

How Dogs Get Parvovirus
Susceptible dogs are infected by swallowing the virus, which is found in the droppings of infected dogs. The virus is difficult to kill with ordinary disinfectants and can survive in the environment for years. People can inadvertently spread it on their hands, shoes, or inanimate objects.

Not every dog exposed to Parvovirus will get sick. Puppies, especially those that have not completed their vaccine series, are most vulnerable. Those born to mothers that were not vaccinated are at extremely high risk. Other factors that influence susceptibility include stress, genetics, parasite infection, and general health. Some breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers, seem to be more likely to become seriously ill.

What the Disease Does
Parvovirus infects the bone marrow and lymph system, weakening the dogs immunity. It simultaneously destroys the lining of the intestinal tract, preventing absorption of water and nutrients. The damaged intestine can leak bacteria into the body. In newborns the virus also damages the heart. Signs of Parvovirus include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and dehydration. Dogs can die from dehydration or from bacteria in the bloodstream.

How Parvovirus is Diagnosed
Diagnosis begins with a physical exam but also includes laboratory testing of the feces. Other tests that can help the veterinarian treat the disease more effectively include a blood panel and a fecal test for parasites.

Treatment for Parvovirus
There is no specific treatment that kills the virus, but sick dogs are treated for secondary infections and to reduce the symptoms. Hospitalization is usually required. Treatment may include IV fluids to help with dehydration, IV electrolytes and nutrients, antibiotic injections, medications to control vomiting, and drugs that stimulate immunity. Up to 90% of puppies recover with treatment.

Preventing Canine Parvovirus
The key to preventing Canine Parvovirus is a good vaccination program. Puppies are vaccinated starting at 6-8 weeks of age and boostered every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is at least 16 weeks old. In highly susceptible breeds, boosters are given as old as 22 weeks of age. After that, vaccinations are given every 1-3 years depending on the type of vaccine. Its especially important for female dogs intended for breeding to be vaccinated. This allows them to provide immunity that protects their puppies until they are old enough to receive vaccinations.


Adult dogs that have never been vaccinated before are given one or two vaccinations initially, followed by re-vaccination every 1-3 years. Ask your veterinarian about the best vaccination protocol for your dog.

Dogs with Parvovirus should be isolated from other dogs since the disease is highly contagious. Contaminated objects should be disinfected with a dilute bleach solution.

Because puppies that have not yet received their entire vaccination series are susceptible to Parvovirus, veterinarians recommend minimizing their likelihood of exposure. Avoid taking them to parks or other public, outdoor areas where soil may harbor the virus. If possible, choose puppy socialization and training classes that require the puppies to have started their vaccines. The classes should be held in places that are disinfected regularly. It is also preferable to avoid boarding very young pups.

Keeping your puppy healthy will reduce his susceptibility to Parvovirus. Be sure he receives regular veterinary checkups, gets all recommended vaccines on time, is treated to control parasites, and enjoys a healthy diet.

Puppy Care

Congratulations! Bringing home a new puppy is fun, but it is also a huge responsibility that lasts its lifetime, which can sometimes reach 12 to 18 years or longer. The first six months of your puppies life are the most critical and establishes his health and behavior for the rest of his life.puppy You, as the puppies advocate, must ensure he is protected from disease with a series of vaccinations and effective monthly parasite control. Thousands of inadequately vaccinated puppies never make it to see their first birthday because of diseases such as parvovirus and distemper. Thousands more will die from heartworm disease from the bite of one single mosquito, and even more may succumb to intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, even before they even reach 2 months old.

The majority of dogs relinquished to animal shelters is usually because of behavioral issues, such as dog aggressiveness that results in a dog bite, the inability to house train or unruly and destructive behavior. These are natural tendencies in dogs, and it is your responsibility to learn the how the dog thinks and use the natural, instinctive pack leadership skills to effectively modify both you and your dog’s behavior and solidify a great and rewarding relationship with your new puppy and family

Puppy proofing your home is another safety precaution you must establish. There are several hazards to young puppies you must look out for, such as electrical cords, toxic houseplants, foods that must not be fed, and toxic substances that need to be secured. Providing a safe haven for your puppy, such as a crate, when you are away, will keep him out of trouble and will also hasten house training.

There is so much more that I want to share with you that I have developed a series of newsletters and videos to help you take great care of your puppy and then well into his senior years. Register for my puppy care newsletter and you will also get some bonus e-books.

Recommendations for Puppies

Age 2, 4, 6 weeks of age

* deworm for hookworms and roundworms
* check for other intestinal parasites such as coccidia, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia

6-8 weeks of age

* Wellness Examination (WE) Check eyes, ears, heart, lungs, teeth, and other structures.
* DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, )
* Parasite Check
* Dewormer
* Start Heartworm preventative
* Start Flea medication
* Behavior counseling (crate training)

12 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP #2
* Bordetella #1
* Leptospirosis #1 (4 way)
* Dewormer
* Heartworm and Flea medication

16 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP#3
* Rabies
* Lepto #2
* Bordetella #2
* Heartworm and Flea medications

5months and older

* Spay or neuter
* Blood profile to screen for congenital problems prior to surgery
* give heartworm and flea medication every month all year round
* feed high quality pet foods, avoid generic brands
* Start getting your pet used to brushing teeth while they are young.

10months old

* parvo booster
* bordetella booster
* parasite check


* Wellnes Examination
* Rabies
* Leptospirosis
* Bordetella
* Heartworm (Erhlichia and Lyme) test
* Parasite Check
* Lyme booster
* Giardia booster
* If pet has received 2 Rabies Vaccinations exactly 365 days or less in a row, then pet may go to a Rabies injection every 3 years. If the two vaccines are more than 365 days apart, then they must get another vaccine within the year.
* Pets age 7 years for every 1 calender year. Physical exams on a bi-annual basis are a good way to screen for health problems before they become major.

Dr. Debra Garrison
Dr. Debra Garrison