What is the Parvo Dog Disease?

By Lisa Parris


Parvo is the abbreviated term for Canine Parvovirus. The disease caused by this virus is much more common in puppies than in adult dogs because it thrives on the developing cells of the growing pup. The virus tends to congregate in the dog's intestinal tract, leading to digestive upset and inhibiting the production of infection fighting white blood cells. It is the most widespread lethal viral infection among domestic dogs. It can even lead to heart failure. It is worth noting, the parvovirus is completely avoidable with the application of a simple vaccine.


When Parvovirus is present, it generally affects the digestive tract. Infected dogs will be unable to absorb fluids. This leads to severe diarrhea, which is often bloody, yellowish in color and extremely rank. Other common parvo symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite, sluggishness and fever. On average, puppies and dogs begin to show symptoms 7 to 10 days after being exposed to the virus.


Canine parvovirus is highly contagious and is transmitted through the fecal matter of an infected animal or a carrier, though carriers generally do not exhibit any symptoms of the disease. The virus can survive in the environment for up to 5 months and is able to endure a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Additionally, parvo is resistant to most disinfectants and can be readily transferred to a number of surfaces. For example, if you stand in the place where a dog with parvovirus has recently defecated, there is a high probability of you bringing the virus home on your shoes.


While there is no actual cure for parvo, there is standard treatment. This primarily involves the prevention of dehydration, dispensing medicine to bring down the dog's fever, administering broad range antibiotics and even providing blood transfusions if the situation requires it. If the dog begins treatment within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms, it has a 50 percent chance of survival. However, even if the dog survives, it is still possible to contract the illness again.


The best way to prevent a parvovirus infection in your dog is to follow the standard immunization schedule. Puppies can be vaccinated when they are 6 weeks old. Bear in mind, dogs who have received the Parvo vaccination can still contract the illness, but their chances are greatly reduced.Prior to receiving their shots, puppies should not be allowed to play with other dogs or to roam in popular dog recreation areas. Dogs or puppies with parvo should never be allowed to leave their own yards. The virus is specific to dogs, but if you believe there is a possibility you have come into contact with the parvo virus, wash your hands, shoes and clothes in a solution of 1 quart of water mixed with 1 ounce of standard chlorine bleach.


If your dog has been diagnosed with the parvovirus, be sure to keep him away from all other dogs for the duration of treatment and for at least 4 weeks after recovery is complete. Thoroughly clean any dog wastes from your yard and disinfect any areas the dog inhabits with a strong solution of chlorine bleach and water, approximately ½ cup of bleach for each quart of water. Rinse the dog's food and water bowls in the bleach solution and add it to the wash cycle when you launder the bedding.
Comments (11)
Aug 9, 2010 DoggedHealth
As a puppy parent, I am greatful for the vaccine. Thanks for the informative article. I think this is also helpful to your readers, dog disease
Aug 17, 2010 igranhey
Just got my new puppy on Saturday, this is horrible, he got in the car and got sick, then depressed, then diarrea, so I took him to the vet and he has Parvo I am so sad for this baby and in this economy who has extra 1000 to spend just because the old owner decided not to give the 4 month old any of his shots, that is just so cruel and I never thought I would be so upset over it, I called the old owner to tell him to take his sisters to the vet because the one he sold me had parvo, he said he would check on my new puppy and I have not heard from him at all that is just cruel. please pray that my Romeo makes it, he is on his 2nd day of treatment, I got him from ebay classifieds, I am so sick and stressed out, my family fell in love with him and we want him to live, I feel so bad for him so sad, in pain, vomiting, and just tired I hope he makes it.
Nov 22, 2011 Christinea05
We just got our puppy last week thursday, german shepherd 8 weeks old! She was sick for two days with no appetite and vommiting with diarhea we just thought it was her food or the environment was new to her! Took her to the vet today after noticing she was weak and she died right when he was about to do blood work i didnt expect to grow so attached to her! Im sad and upset that her previous owner lied and never had her vaccinated i will be trying to reach him tomorrow but highly doubt he will cooperate! Im just glad that she is not suffering anymore
Apr 25, 2013 AlexJ
People don't know how important healthy food are. You can easily avoid these kinds of diseases with healthy food. I have 12 years old Golden Terrier and I always prepare him homemade food. His trainer told me that dogs can live 27 years! Please don't give them commercial food. There are lots of healthy homemade food recipes which I prepare for my little Atom.Please prepare them healthy food. http://www.makeuskno can-dogs-eat-vs-what-should-dogs-ea t.html
Apr 25, 2013 AlexJ
Sorry about the link. The fixed link is /categories/animals&pets/what-can-d ogs-eat-vs-what-should-dogs-eat.htm l
Jun 25, 2013 mikkojohn.balerado
2 of my dogs died in just 3 days because of parvo. I live in a 3rd world country and cant afford to get them a vet. I feel so sorry and stupid and helpless as well, watching them die in front me. :'(
Jul 15, 2013 luvmypups4
My miniature dachshund got sick with parvo about 12 yrs ago and he lived. I bought a bottle of childrens pedialyte. Used a medicine syringe without a needle of course. Just kept giving him a syringe full at a time. He'd throw it right up and Id give him some more. I kept doing that until he finally stopped throwing it up. By the next morning he was playin n barkin. When I started this...he was terrible sick and he'd just lay there wouldn't move at all. Parvo causes dehydration and that's what the dog dies from. I'm NO vet but this is what worked for me and its a lot cheaper.
Aug 6, 2013 April Lyn
Just had to take my neighbors dog to the animal hospital, had a temp of 103.0 and throwing up and not eating and drinking. Wasn't in the stage of bloody stools. Started him on antibiotics so hopefully we caught it in time.
Aug 15, 2013 anitacross
My pomeranian pup has parvo. His symptoms started on two days ago and took him in today. The vet gave him antibiotics and anti vomiting medication. I really hope he pulls through. And I've been busting my brain trying to figure out where he got it from. I have to give him saline injections to keep his fluids up as i cannot afford to keep him in hospital. Who can these days? You can treat at home if you can't afford hospitalization too. But you have to stay with them at all times which might not be an option for many.
pedialyte??? Does it help when the signs of parvo is present.??
Apr 23, 2014 kflores
If my friend's dog had parvo as a puppy (she is now full grown) can my puppy be around the dog?
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