A Guide to Canine Parvovirus

When it comes to serious diseases like canine parvovirus, knowledge is power. “What is parvo?” you ask? We put together this guide so you can learn about the symptoms of the virus and other important facts. As always, if you have any questions or suspect your dog might be ill, call your veterinarian!

What Is Parvo?

Canine parvovirus is a super contagious – you guessed it – virus. Unfortunately it is not a mild illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells. This harms the intestinal tract and white blood cells. Parvovirus in young dogs can also hurt the heart and, potentially, cause lifelong cardiac problems. Some cases, particularly if left untreated, will result in death. Older dogs have a better prognosis, but puppies who receive treatment still have a high survival rate.

In short, err on the side of caution and always call your vet if you suspect something is up!

How Do Dogs Get Parvo?

Parvo can be spread by a person, animal or object that has come in contact with an infected dog’s feces or vomit. The virus is highly resistant – meaning it’s difficult to kill – and can live for months at a time. Dogs are especially prone to getting the canine parvovirus in areas with many other dogs. Puppies, adolescent dogs and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk.

How Can I Prevent Canine Parvovirus?

The easiest way to prevent the virus is to get the parvo vaccine. Adopt & Shop hosts low-cost vaccination clinics twice a month, so it’s easy to get your pup vaccinated. Puppies require a first vaccine at 6-8 weeks of age, and then subsequent booster shots every two weeks until completely inoculated. These booster shots are crucial for parvo prevention. Older dogs without the parvo vaccine require at least one vaccination. If your dog isn’t fully vaccinated, limit their interaction with other canines.

What Are Parvo Symptoms in Dogs?

Some parvo symptoms in dogs are similar to those of other less serious diseases – stuff like lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite and diarrhea. However, signs of parvo also include bloody diarrhea and severe vomiting. These more serious symptoms indicate that your dog has the virus and not a regular old upset stomach. Regardless of the severity of your dog’s symptoms, contact your veterinarian. They can determine the nature of your pet’s condition and advise the best treatment based on their diagnosis.

What Does Parvo Treatment Entail?

Parvo treatment varies. A vet will determine the severity of the illness and advise on the best course of treatment. Generally canine parvovirus requires intensive medical care and a hospital stay for multiple days. Sick dogs might receive antibiotics, intravenous fluids and drugs to control vomiting.

Thank you for reading and we hope you found this article helpful. Please call your vet if you have any questions or suspect your dog is ill!