(Editor's Note: We here at PetProject love to meet and greet your puppies! But because of a potential epidemic in the area, we urge you to follow breeder's and veterinarian's instructions regarding exposing young puppies to risk of Parvovirus. More information about the outbreak and vaccination clinics can be found here: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-parvo-outbreak-la-county-20140508-story.html)
Here in Downtown Los Angeles, it can sometimes feel like there are more dogs than people! (We don’t mind!) Just taking a walk down Spring Street, almost every variety and mix of breed can be seen trotting along. While it’s fantastic to live in such a dog friendly environment where they can all meet each other and play, it is important to be aware of the dangers we must protect our pets from. Living in an area where our pets all use the same restroom can lead to serious health issues if your pet is not protected.
Unfortunately we cannot count on all pet owners being as responsible as we would like them to be. One of the most common health issues that come up with city pups is contracting Parvovirus. Parvovirus (or Parvo, for short) is a viral disease of dogs. It grows in rapidly dividing cells in the intestines because the intestinal lining has the biggest concentration of rapidly dividing cells in a puppy's body. The virus attacks and kills these cells, causing diarrhea (often bloody), depression, and suppression of white blood cells. It also prevents the absorption of nutrients. In very young puppies it can infect the heart muscle and lead to sudden death. It affects puppies much more frequently than it affects adult dogs — mostly because adult dogs have a lifetime of vaccinations.
Dogs typically begin to display symptoms of Parvovirus infection about one or two weeks after they're exposed. They remain contagious for about two weeks after symptoms begin. A dog can contract Parvo by simply walking down the street and sniffing or stepping in the feces of another dog that had the virus. It can also be brought home to your dog on shoes, hands and even car tires. The virus can survive in the environment, on bedding and food dishes, for instance, for as long as five months. This is why it is so incredibly important to vaccinate your dog as soon as they are of age to protect them against this deadly disease.
Vaccination rounds should start at eight weeks of age, and your puppy should receive additional vaccines at 12 weeks, six months and one year. Adult dogs should receive additional vaccinations to protect them.
Before your puppy gets his Parvo vaccine, protect him from contracting the virus by keeping him away from other dogs. It's a good idea to limit your puppy's contact with other dogs until he's had his first two vaccinations, to ensure that his immunity is adequate. Even if your puppy has been vaccinated, keep him away from dog and puppies you know to be sick with parvovirus, since the vaccinations may not always be effective. Also, washing your pups paws after a walk is also a good way to keep those germs at bay! Parvovirus is a very resilient virus, and very difficult to contain or control. It is very important that you keep your unvaccinated puppy off of the street and carry them until they have received all of their shots as to not put them in danger.
Downtown LA is a haven for puppy play time, so lets be sure to keep our pups safe, happy, and healthy so they can keep that pep in their step while trotting down Spring Street into Pet Project to get a treat!