Canine Parvovirus, commonly referred to as “Parvo” is a very serious and highly contagious disease that primarily affects puppies and young dogs who are not properly vaccinated. This disease can spread by dog-to-dog contact, through feces, people, and the environment. Parvo can contaminate kennel surfaces, food, bowls, collars, leashes, as well as your hands and clothing and can remain viable for extended periods of time, regardless of temperature and environmental conditions.
Early warning signs of Parvo include persistent vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), loss of appetite, abdominal pain, bloating, and fever or hypothermia. These can result in rapid dehydration, intestinal damage, and damage to the immune system. Death can occur as quickly as 48-72 hours after the onset of clinical signs, even with treatment the fatality rate is still very high.
THERE IS NO CURE FOR CANINE PARVOVIRUS!
Parvo can only be treated through support therapy in an attempt to replenish electrolytes, protein, and fluid loss as well as control vomiting and diarrhea. Once a dog has tested positive for Parvovirus, they need to be isolated and any surfaces or items they may have come into contact with need to be disinfected.
The best way to control Parvo is prevention through proper vaccination. Puppies’ natural immunity wears off before they fully develop their own immunity which is why they are at a much higher risk than older dogs. You should avoid places like pet shops, dog parks, and doggy daycare until your dog has been fully vaccinated and is older. If you do need to board your dog at a kennel, check that they require certain vaccines before boarding.
When you get a puppy, you need to ensure that they are being properly vaccinated. They should receive a Distemper-Parvo booster, at least three separate times. We recommend getting these vaccinations at least 2-4 weeks apart starting around 6 weeks of age. These vaccinations coupled with regular deworming will ensure your puppy has the healthy start they deserve!