Canine parvovirus is an acute illness, which means that symptoms develop suddenly, usually within 3–10 days of exposure. In most cases, dogs that are infected with the virus do not develop the disease (called asymptomatic infection). Canine parvovirus often is fatal in puppies. Sometimes, puppies collapse and die without showing prior signs of infection.
Signs and symptoms of canine parvovirus include the following :
– Bloody diarrhea (often severe)
– Lethargy (lack of energy)
– Loss of appetite
– Malaise (discomfort associated with illness)
– Rapid weight loss
Without immediate treatment, canine parvovirus often progresses quickly. CPV can cause death within 2–3 days of the onset of symptoms, so it is important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Complications include dehydration, secondary infections, sepsis and a condition in which part of the intestine slips into the part below it (called intussusception). CPV also can damage the spleen. Dogs that have another health condition are at increased risk for developing severe complications and illness.
8 Tips to Prevent Parvovirus in Your Dog or Puppy
Canine parvovirus (commonly called parvo) is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness in puppies and dogs. It can be transmitted by any person, animal or object that comes in contact with an infected dog’s feces.
Puppies, adolescent dogs, and adult dogs who are not vaccinated are at risk of contracting the virus. Protecting your puppy or dog from parvovirus could save his life.
Keep your dog healthy and parvo-free with these 8 tips :
1. Make sure your dog is properly vaccinated. Puppies should receive their first vaccines at 6-8 weeks of age; boosters should be administered at three-week intervals until the puppy is 16 weeks of age, and then again at one year of age. Previously vaccinated adult dogs need boosters every year. Visit The Animal Foundation’s Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic for affordable vaccines administered seven days a week — no appointment needed!
2. Limit your puppy or unvaccinated dog’s exposure to other dogs until he’s had his first two vaccinations, unless you are sure the other dogs are fully vaccinated.
3. Avoid places where your puppy or unvaccinated dog could be exposed to parvovirus from unvaccinated dogs. Dog parks, pet stores, play groups, and other public areas should be avoided until your dog or puppy is fully vaccinated.
4. When visiting your vet for wellness check-ups and vaccinations, carry your puppy in your arms outside and leave him on your lap while waiting in the lobby. Walking where other dogs have walked and gone to the bathroom will increase your puppy’s risk of contracting disease.
5. Parvovirus is very difficult to kill and can live in the environment for over a year. If you suspect your house or yard has been infected, clean with a 1:32 dilution of bleach (1/2 cup bleach in a gallon of water). Regular soaps and disinfectants DO NOT kill parvovirus. Areas that cannot be cleaned with bleach may remain contaminated. Remember, the virus can survive on a variety of objects, including food bowls, shoes, clothes, carpet and floors.
6. If you work or spend time in places where you have contact with dogs, change your clothes and shoes before returning home to your dog or puppy.
7. If your dog or puppy is vomiting, has diarrhea, is not eating or is lethargic, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible. These are all symptoms of parvovirus. Remember, Infected dogs may show only one symptom!
8. If you are considering adopting a new dog, we encourage leaving your unvaccinated puppies or dogs at home. It is very important to do a meet and greet, but take the time to make sure your dog is fully vaccinated first!
Parvovirus Is Hard to Control and Costly to Treat
Canine parvovirus is difficult to control especially in a shelter environment and expensive to treat.
The virus is spread through animal waste and direct dog-to-dog contact. It is highly contagious and can live on surfaces for months. Some puppies die from the virus and others are euthanized because the antibiotics and other drugs needed to treat it can be too expensive from $500 to $2,000 and take about a week to work.
Parvo causes similar symptoms in all infected puppies and dogs, including vomiting, severe and often bloody diarrhea, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. In dogs infected with the virus, dehydration is a constant concern and can occur very quickly as a result of the vomiting and diarrhea. This is especially dangerous in very young puppies.
Most deaths from parvo occur within 48 to 72 hours after the onset of symptoms, which is why immediate treatment is crucial for survival.