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Long term effects of Parvo

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#1 al8dan



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Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:03 AM

I was wondering if there are any long lasting effects of parvo on overall health and being vunerable to other infections?

Many of you might remember Freeway the pup I was fostering and who took seriously ill. He was 2 1/2 or 3 months at the time and he lost a brother and sister to it. He himself tested negative but the vet says it is not uncommon. His sister was positive on post mortem exam.

He has kennel cough now. Green gunk in his eyes and mild cough when walking on a lead. He this morning had a loud barking cough and went to the vet. He has has an injection and a 6 day course of tablets.

I am not worried as such...but I just wanted to know if having the parvo so young could affect him with later infections.

He is still very under target for weight when compared to his siblings who also had the illness.

For example his sister who was closest in size and eight to him is a good 4kg heavier and much larger in size and structure.

Freeway is light weight very fine and very slim looking.although he is good and solid.

Thnaks in advance...

Northern Ireland

#2 AK dog doc

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 04:37 AM

He shouldn't have long-term immune system issues per se... parvo does infect rapidly-dividing cells, which means the lining of the gut and the white blood cells (immune system cells) so there is a TEMPORARY immunosupression while the infection is present, but that should be over now that he's recovered. Where your pup might be having a problem is that some puppies have enough damage to the GI tract that it results in loss of or damage to the microanatomy, which can result in a failure to thrive.

The lining of the small intestine has structures called villi, which are like little fingers poking up from the wall of the intestine. The villi have microvilli on them, which are like smaller fingers poking up off of the villi. Some parvo survivors will have enough damage that the microvilli sort of fuse together in healing, so you have a loss of or a change of the microvilli structure. Since the microvilli are the absorptive surface area for nutrients, loss of the microvilli means that the gut has less absorptive surface area to gather nutrition with, so those pups can't get as much out of their food as ones with normal microvilli. Hence you may have some stunting of growth and/or malnutrition, which could impair the ability of the immune system to do its job. It depends on how much scarring there is how much impact that has on the dog.

The best analogy I can think of the get the picture of the difference in surface area is to imagine the difference between a hardwood floor and one covered in shag carpeting. If you were to measure the surface area of the shag carpeting by meansuring the surface area of every single little strand of yarn in the carpet, and compare that to the surface area of the same room without the carpet (so it's just simple square footage of the room), you'd have a GIGANTIC difference in area. Does that make sense? I'm not sure I'm explaining that very well.

At any rate, it could be that your pup was genetically "intended" to be smaller than his littermates, or that he has some inborn weakness of the immune system that is causing his repeat infections, or it could be a mere conincidence that he caught the respiratory infection. But it is certainly possible that he has some damage to his gut lining from the parvo and that that is the source of both problems. In general, when looking at multiple symptoms, we're looking for a single source that is responsible for all of them, so the parvo theory looks best for that - but it isn't ALWAYS so, and sometimes you do have more than one thing going on at a time.

Your pup may do just great in the long run, or he may always be a little bit of a hard keeper and a little bit vulnerable as a result. I'm not sure there's any telling from here; you just have to wait and see what happens.
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

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#3 2 Devils

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 04:58 AM

Just because your dog is smaller than the surviving littermates does not necessarily mean anything is wrong with his growth.

My Tempe is very petite compared to her littermates (all the males that I have seen). I have not seen the females though. Her parents are what I consider on the big side especially her dad but his lines can throw small border collies even though the parents are big.

I cannot comment on the health issues but good luck and hope he gets better soon.
Warrenton, VA
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