Coprophagia, Parvo, And Pet Vaccinations: How These Are All Tied Together

Dogs get into all kinds of mischief they should not. They also do a lot of things dogs are known to do, and which humans find disgusting. Unfortunately, one of those nasty habits is coprophagia​, or the consumption of feces. Dogs are notorious fecal eaters, often consuming not just their own feces, but the feces of other dogs. This leads to a lot of serious health problems, including worms and internal parasites, and diseases that can kill your dog. For some of these diseases (and all of the parasites) you can vaccinate your dog. Here is how coprophagia, pet vaccinations, and parvovirus (a deadly canine disease) are all connected.

​Puppies Are Trained by Their Mother to Eat Feces

This is where dogs learn to eat feces. Mother dogs who eat feces teach the puppies to eat feces. It is a biological drive to protect the young so that predators will not find and eat the pups, but since dogs are now domesticated, owners can teach dogs not to eat feces. Still, mother dogs will still attempt it, and they will still attempt to teach their pups to do the same. The problems, of course, arise from the consumption of feces heavy laden with parvovirus. 

​The Contraction of Parvo and How It Kills

Parvovirus exists in fecal matter of those dogs that carry it. In dogs that have been vaccinated, the "parvo" has no effect. In dogs that have not been vaccinated, such as new puppies, the parvo will kill them in just a few days. The puppies contract it from a parent carrying it, from their littermates, or from other strange dogs that have left their feces on the lawn. The puppies consume the infected feces, as dutifully trained by their mother to do so. The parvo gets into their system, where it quickly causes fever, extreme diarrhea, dehydration, and finally, death. The puppies will simply refuse to eat or drink because they do not feel well, and the parvo multiplies and forces the puppies' bodies to continue with the diarrhea until they die. A vaccination is necessary to prevent this from happening.

Pet Vaccinations

Puppies that are immediately vaccinated after birth against parvo have a fighting chance. That means that if they do contract parvo from coprophagia in the first two weeks of life, the vaccine has already entered the bloodstream, and it will help the puppies fight the virus. Be sure to take any new puppies you have to the a vet, like those at Apple Valley Animal Hospital, for a wellness check within the first week of life so that the vet can give the puppies this life-saving vaccine.