What it is: Parvovirus, one of the most common preventable infectious diseases in dogs, is a virus spread from animal to animal through contact with fecal matter.
Who it affects: Dogs, especially puppies that have not been vaccinated.
Possible symptoms: If Spot has been exposed to the virus, he may experience vomiting and bloody diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. The virus can also cause a diminished white-blood-cell count, which increases the risk of infection.
Treatment: A dog who has contracted parvovirus will probably have to be hospitalized. There he will be given medicine to help the symptoms subside and an IV to rehydrate and replace lost fluids. A veterinarian will also prescribe antibiotics to prevent a secondary infection and combat bacterial infections.
Prevention: A simple, inexpensive vaccine will help protect a pup from contracting parvovirus. Puppies should be vaccinated every three to four weeks until they are 14 to 16 weeks old. Adult dogs need a booster shot at one year and every three years after that.