Canine Parvovirus


Getting a puppy is a very exciting time, but making sure the puppy is healthy is extremely important. While many puppies are vaccinated early for Parvovirus they can still come down with clinical disease.

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus, otherwise known as Parvo is an extremely contagious virus that can affect puppies and even unvaccinated adult dogs.

Most at risk are puppies younger than 4 months of age.

Parvo attacks the gastrointestinal tract and can spread by contaminated surfaces or even dog to dog contact. This virus can last for long periods on surfaces that typical cleaners will not kill. 

So why would a vaccinated dog get Parvo?

  • The vaccination series was not finished appropriated
  • The vaccinations were stored incorrectly
  • The vaccinations were given at the wrong time

On top of all of this, people recently have been requesting 1/2 dose vaccines. Some non-veterinarians (and even a small amount of veterinarians) are vaccinating dogs with 1/2 doses. Unfortunately, this will may not protect your dog from contracting Parvo as there isn’t enough of the vaccination to stimulate an appropriate immune response.

What are the clinical signs of Parvo?

  • Vomiting that may contain blood
  • Diarrhea that may contain blood
  • Lethargy
  • Inappetance
  • Bloating
  • Fever or even low body temperature.

When a puppy develops these symptoms they can decline very quickly. Anytime a puppy shows signs of illness they should immediately be brought to a veterinarian. 

How is Parvo diagnosed?

Diagnosing Parvo is easy and can be done with just a stool sample. The test takes about 10 minutes and if the test comes up positive treatment should be started immediately. 

How is Parvo treated?

There is no treatment to cure a dog with Parvo. The point of treatment is to make sure they do not become dehydrated and controlling the clinical signs. 

Unfortunately, treating a Parvo positive dog is not always successful and in most cases can be extremely expensive. 

If aggressive treatment is administered the survival rate can be around 90%.

How can you prevent your pet from getting this virus?


Instead of vaccinating your own dog, a veterinarian should be administering all vaccines. Veterinarians ensure that the vaccination is properly stored, giving at the correct intervals and the correct dosage. 

Remember adult dogs are not immune to getting Parvo. Depending on the area you live in and your dog’s lifestyle your veterinarian may recommend vaccinating every year or every 3 years.


Parvo can transfer from a surface to your puppy even after a long period. Make sure you treat surfaces appropriately. If not treated appropriately another dog can be at risk!

Keep your dog away!

Last but not least, keep your puppy that is not vaccinated away from high traffic dog areas. This includes the dog park, daycare, or areas in your neighborhood that many dogs hang out by.

Parvovirus is easy to prevent, easy to diagnose but unfortunately, difficult to treat and can be fatal. Take care of your pet and vaccinate them appropriately.



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