April 20, 2020

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is one of the most serious health conditions your dog can get. It is a very contagious virus. It causes extreme gastrointestinal illness in puppies between 6 - 20 weeks and sometimes older dogs.

Canine Parvovirus Facts

  • Canine Parvovirus Infection is one of the most persistent virus's 
  • Discovered or at least recognized in 1978
  • Incubation period of roughly 5 days
  • Highly Contagious
  • Can be transmitted via feces, contaminated clothing or shoes - anything that have been contaminated
  • Both dogs and puppies are susceptible
  • Can remain on/in contaminated areas for up to a year
  • Two types of parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus Myocarditis

This form of the virus is very rare. Between information and vaccinations Parvovirus Myocarditis is much rarer than it used to be. This form is transmitted from a pregnant mother to her babies. 

In most cases if the mother has already been vaccinated against it or exposed to it previously then her body will have already built up antibodies to fight off any new viruses thus giving the puppies some protection against the virus.

However, in the cases where the mother has never been vaccinated then the puppies are not protected. This virus targets the area of the body that creates red blood cells the fastest. This being the heart. 

Once the heart has been attacked it can either badly damage it or destroy it. In newborn puppies, it can take between four to six week for symptoms to show. The puppy can be playing one second and then die the next. More than likely if one puppy has been exposed then the entire litter has been also.

Deadly Canine Parvovirus 1

Canine Parvovirus Infection

This is the most common form of canine parvovirus. It can be found in both puppies and older dogs well into their senior years. It is more lethal in the dogs first year of life and can become fatal fast. 

The signs and symptoms of this form of parvo in puppies and older dogs can include…

  • Depression
  • Severe vomiting
  • Extreme bloody diarrhea
  • Might refuse all food and water
  • Abdominal pain

Treatment and Prevention 


If parvo is expected, the vet may test the feces for signs of the virus. The only problem with this method is that dogs in later stages of the virus may not shed virus in their feces. In these cases the vet may perform a PCR or polymerase chain reaction to test for parvo. This is where they test replicate DNA and look for any abnormalities. 


Parvo virus is deadly. The vaccination given to dogs who have not yet been exposed to the virus works particularly well. How ever treatment for dogs who are sick depends on many factors. Time being the most important factor.

The sooner the the virus is treated the better the outlook. Medications typically given are anti-nausea and antibiotics. With a combination of IV fluids to help keep the dog hydrated and to resupply electrolytes. 

Blood Fusion Transfusion

In some cases a method called blood fusion transfusion is used. This is when they take blood from a dog who has already survived parvovirus and built up antibodies against; and inject it into the infected dog.

 It is viewed as passive immunity. There is not enough data to show if this method works better for treating parvo better than any other treatments.


The first step for preventing parvovirus is vaccination. Puppies can build immunities form their mother but at four months old they go through a series of vaccinations to help them build their own immunity to the virus.

 The parvo vaccination is a series of three shots. It is recommended that you shouldn't take your puppy out into public until they have had at least their second round of shots. 

It is also important to decontaminate any surfaces the virus may be on if your dog ha parvo. Remember it is a very resilient virus and can live in the soil and other surfaces for up to a year. It can kill a dog in a matter of days.

Be sure to notify your neighbors as well so they at can prepare and take preventative measures.

Read about Giardiasis HERE!

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