Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus

Having a dog with Parvo is one of the more serious things that can happen to a puppy owner or dog breeder.

Parvo is a viral disease among puppies, which can result in fatal consequences. As a result, anyone working with puppies regularly should be aware of the signs and symptoms of parvo and what to do.

We have compiled some important facts about Canine Parvo Virus to help you “recognize the enemy”: 

  • Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease that affects unvaccinated, inadequately vaccinated, or improperly vaccinated dogs. The disease has a fatality rate of up to 90% if not properly diagnosed and treated, but if properly diagnosed, survival rates can reach 96% after 5 days of treatment.
  • A lack of protective immunity is the most common risk factor for predisposing to CPV-related disease. Despite vaccination, small percentages of dogs do not develop protective immunity and remain susceptible to infection. This could be due to an ineffective primary vaccination course, failure of vaccination to induce immunity due to interference by maternal antibodies or genetic immune deficiency.
  • Once infected, the treatment of CPV-infected dogs in private practice settings can be expensive, making it an unaffordable option for some pet owners. Early treatment following accurate diagnosis can save lives and needless expense.
  • Because no known drug can prevent the infection from spreading through the dog’s system, supportive care is used to maintain life until the immune system kicks in and eliminates the virus.
  • Puppies are prone to developing bouts of diarrhea and vomiting due to dietary changes or consumption of indigestible matter. It can be difficult to differentiate between an “upset tummy” and the early stages of a Parvo infection. Accurate and quick diagnosis is important since infected dogs must be isolated to prevent the spread of the disease to others. On the other hand, if incorrectly diagnosed as positive, they are at high risk of becoming infected in the isolation ward.

The Parvovirus infection can be broken down into the following stages:

  • Exposure: Your nonimmune dog is exposed to the virus through direct contact with an infected dog or indirectly by contact with contaminated materials.
  • Incubation: During the incubation period (3-5 days) your dog will not demonstrate any signs of disease but he will begin shedding the infectious virus and potentially infect other dogs
  • Disease Signs: Approximately 5-7 days after exposure your dog will begin to develop signs of illness. Lethargy, inappetence and diarrhea can indicate a parvovirus infection.
  • Diagnosis:Your veterinarian will run several tests to assist in arriving at an accurate diagnosis. The sooner a proper diagnosis is made and treatment is started, the better the chance of survival.
  • Treatment: To avoid infecting other dogs, your veterinarian will advise you to isolate your pet. Hospitalization may be recommended. Treatment of canine parvovirus infections is primarily supportive consisting of subcutaneous fluids, antibiotics, antidiarrheals and antiemtics in the case of vomiting.
  • Recovery: It can take fourteen to twenty days for your pet to fully recover from parvovirus and to stop shedding infective virus. You need to make sure your dog is eating and drinking well and remains isolated until they are no longer infectious.


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