What is Parvovirus?

Our partner clinics have been seeing an increased number of puppies infected with Parvovirus. Parvo is always in the community, so we want to make sure you know how to prevent it and spot the signs that your pet might sick. Early intervention is key to a full recovery.


What is Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus (also known as “Parvo”) is a virus that can cause severe inflammation of the intestines in canines. The virus infects cells of the intestine leading to structural changes that prevent dogs from properly absorbing nutrients.

Canine Parvovirus is a dangerous and extraordinarily contagious virus that spreads easily between unvaccinated dogs. If not caught early and treated aggressively, Parvovirus infection can be fatal.


How is Parvovirus spread?

Unlike most other viruses, Parvo is stable in the environment and is resistant to heat, detergents, and alcohol. Due to its stability, the virus is easily transmitted via the hair or feet of infected dogs, contaminated shoes, clothes, and other objects. Direct contact between dogs is not required to spread the virus.


What are the symptoms of Canine Parvovirus?

Severe vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), and lack of appetite are common symptoms of the Parvovirus infection. Affected dogs usually develop signs of extreme lethargy (lack of energy), depression, and dehydration with fever. Leukopenia (low white blood cells) can often be seen on blood work. In severe cases, death can occur rapidly.

Symptoms of Parvovirus will typically develop after an incubation period of 3-10 days in infected dogs. Dogs with suspected Parvovirus exposure should be carefully monitored for symptoms. Call your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s care before bringing the dog to a clinic. This will help decrease the chances of infecting another dog.


What dogs are most at risk of a Parvovirus infection?

Unvaccinated dogs are at risk for Parvovirus. Puppies and immune-compromised dogs are at particular risk. Vaccinations are very effective in preventing Parvovirus, but puppies who have not completed their full vaccine series or are newly vaccinated (vaccinated less than 10-14 days prior to exposure) may still be at risk of infection.


What should I do to protect my dog from Parvovirus?

Avoid high traffic areas that are frequented by dogs, such as dog parks, until your puppy is fully vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way to protect your dog from contracting Parvovirus.


If you suspect your dog may have Parvovirus, call your veterinarian for advice before bringing the dog to the clinic.