Parvovirus is a very serious condition that most commonly occurs in young dogs or dogs that haven’t been fully vaccinated. Common clinical symptoms of parvovirus include vomiting, diarrhea (especially with blood), retching, lethargy, inappetence and fever. The virus affects the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Parvo also attacks the body’s white blood cells, which decreases the animal’s ability to fight infection. When a dog becomes ill with parvovirus, the diarrhea and vomiting can be so severe that the animal can quickly become dehydrated and go into a stake of shock. Parvo is extremely deadly if left untreated.
Treatment of parvo usually involves intravenous fluids, anti-vomiting medications and antibiotics. Affected animals are not able or willing to eat to maintain normal hydration. There is no specific cure for parvovirus, the veterinarian and owner will just need to help the dog through the crisis as the virus runs its course.
Parvovirus is ubiquitous in the environment, which means is can basically be found anywhere. Parvo is transmitted through fecal-oral contact, so a dog can become infected through sniffing or licking feces on the ground or direct contact with an affected dog. The virus is highly contagious, which means areas with high a concentration of dogs (dog parks, shelters, etc.) are especially dangerous. Rottweilers and Pill Bull breeds are may be more susceptible to the disease than others, but parvo can affect any breed.
You can basically eliminate your dog’s risk of acquiring the parvovirus by making sure they’re vaccinated. Your dog’s veterinarian will know how many vaccinations are necessary and how far apart. A dog that’s received plenty of its mother’s milk also has a lower risk of being affected because this boosts their immune system. Until a puppy has completed their vaccinations, owners may want to limit contact with other dogs. Most puppies complete their vaccinations at about 16 weeks of age.
Veterinarians can easily test for parvo using a “snap test” on a fecal sample. Older dogs that have been vaccinated are typically not affected by parvovirus, but some rare cases of extremely aggressive strains have been reported.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has released its ranking of dog breed popularity based on its registration statistics. Here are top 10 dog breeds, according to the AKC:
1. Labrador Retrievers
2. German Shepherds
3. Yorkshire Terriers
5. Golden Retrievers
10. Shih Tzus
No matter what the breed, save money on all of your lovable pup’s pet medications and pet supplies by shopping on www.vetdepot.com.
More owners are looking into and purchasing health insurance for their pets. Choices range from very inexpensive policies that provide some financial help when dealing with an unforeseen illness or accident to more comprehensive plans that cover preventative care and have high coverage limits. Of course these latter policies also have higher premiums, but with a little research most pet owners can find a pet insurance plan is a good fit for them.
Here are a few things to remember when considering health insurance for your pet:
- No policy covers all your veterinary expenses. You will still need to have savings and/or credit available to cover deductibles, copays, and costs that exceed or are excluded from your policy. Primarily think of insurance as a way to help deal with unexpected expenses. Routine purchases like vaccines, heartworm prevention and flea and tick control can be budgeted for and purchased from online retailers such as vetdepot.com.
- Know what you are buying. All policies have exclusions, so check the fine print.
- Preexisting conditions will not be covered, so if your dog or cat has already been diagnosed with a disease, the cost of treating it (pet medication refills, rechecks, etc.) will come out of your pocket. Consider getting insurance when your pet is young to avoid the pitfalls associated with preexisting conditions.
Responsible pet ownership requires an investment that lasts the lifetime of your pet. In this regard, owning a pet is similar to caring for a child. There are many ongoing costs associated with caring for your dog or cat, but there are easy things you can do to help keep some of these costs down.
Shop Around for Vets: When you’re choosing a vet, call several local veterinary offices and ask them the cost for a routine exam. Often, vets will use this price as a base price for all other procedures. Vets who charge less for a routine exam tend to have lower prices overall. Don’t wait for an emergency to choose your veterinarian; you will be more stressed in emergency situations and may not be as concerned with cutting costs.
Compare Prices Online for your Pet’s Medications: If you buy your flea preventatives and other pet medications at your veterinarian’s office, you are likely being charged a mark-up of over 100% of the wholesale price. Shopping online for your pet’s medication can lead to huge savings, plus the added convenience of receiving your pet’s medications delivered to your door. When you’re comparing prices online, you can often save money by ordering more doses in one time. Make sure you order discount pet medications only from secure sites based in the US that are certified by either LegitScript or Vet-VIPPS like vetdepot.
Don’t Let Fido Eat You out of House and Home: No matter what, your furry friend is always going to want to eat! The biggest ongoing cost pet owners pay is food. Many pet foods labeled as “Premium” or other special diets cost more than double what other pet foods cost. Be aware that there is no legal standard pet foods must meet to be labeled as “Premium”, but any food that is labeled “complete & balanced” or “total nutrition” meets the minimum legal standard required for pet foods. Unless your pet has a medical condition requiring a special diet, you probably don’t need to spend extra on pricey foods that may offer no extra benefit to your pet’s health.
Invest in Preventative Care: You’ve probably heard the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping up with your pet’s routine exams and vaccinations can prevent a wide variety of serious and costly health problems. Clean choppers also make a big difference in your pet’s health. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth and feeding them dental treats can help prevent periodontal disease, a common cause of kidney and lung problems. Finally, make sure your pet maintains a healthy weight. Have plenty of playtime and don’t overfeed your furball. Obesity can cause diabetes and arthritis, among other expensive problems. Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet, and a healthy pet costs you less!
In recent years, Americans have been spending more money than ever on organic and natural foods. It should come as no surprise that many people are also beginning to buy natural or organic foods for their animal companions. Many of us feel like our dogs and cats are members of our family. As we begin to think more about finding healthy foods for ourselves, many of us are also becoming interested in feeding our pets better foods too. At pet stores around the country, new foods are cropping up featuring specialty ingredients like blueberries, alfalfa and brewer’s yeast.
There is some debate, however, as to whether these more costly “natural” foods actually have health benefits for your pet. It certainly can’t hurt your pet to keep them on a diet made from higher quality ingredients however some brands may be lower in important nutrients such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Grain-free foods also promise many benefits but there is debate as to the truth of these claims. According to some veterinarians, grain-free foods mainly benefit pets with specific food allergies.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide if a natural diet would be a good thing to try with your pet. If your pet has allergies or suffers from any feline or canine digestive troubles, paying more attention to their diet might help improve their overall condition. Rest assured, even if you can’t afford the additional cost of organic, specialty pet foods, more traditional brands are still a safe and cost effective way to fill up that furry little tummy.