Parvo is every dog owner’s absolute worst nightmare, be it from a new puppy you’ve just brought home or an unvaccinated dog you’ve had for months or years.
More often than not, the parvovirus is seen in young puppies, most of which don’t survive unless they are given treatment on a regular basis.
What is Parvovirus in Dogs?
Parvovirus presents itself in two forms – intestinal and cardiac. It’s an incredibly contagious virus and is easily spread around.
Intestinal parvo causes anorexia in dogs through diarrhea, vomiting, and general weight loss.
Cardiac parvo attacks the muscles of the heart in young puppies and fetuses who haven’t been born yet. It stops the body from absorbing fluids and nutrients properly, which will cause death very quickly.
Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs
Because there are two different forms of parvo in dogs, I’ll have two different symptom lists.
Listed below are the symptoms of intestinal parvo in dogs:
- Severe and/or bloody diarrhea
- Lethargic behavior
- Severe and/or sudden weight loss
Listed below are the symptoms of cardiac parvo in dogs:
- Weak due to lack of fluid absorption and protein
- Eyes become noticeably red
- Abnormally rapid heart beat
- Red mouth tissue
- Low body temperature
- Pain in the abdominal area
If you notice any of the symptoms of CPV in dogs, bring your dog to the immediately.
How is Parvo Spread Between Dogs?
The virus can be spread by direct and indirect contact through the anal area and fecal matter.
For example, your dog smells the feces of an infected dog or you step on infected dog feces and track it into your home.
Unfortunately, this means you could be carrying parvo around with you. It can survive indoors at a room temperature for up to 2 months and in an outdoor temperature for much longer, even years.
Who is At Risk of Parvo the Most?
Unfortunately, kennels and shelters are known breeding grounds for parvo. This is because not all dogs may be vaccinated or they were not fully vaccinated.
Because of this, it’s extremely important to have your new pup checked out by the vet as soon as you get it and vaccinate him for parvo immediately.
Unfortunately, Doberman Pinschers, English Springer Spaniels, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Alaskan Sled Dogs, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers are breeds that are more vulnerable to parvo compared to other breeds.
Preventing Parvo in Dogs
The best way to prevent your dog from getting parvo is to have him vaccinated as early as possible.
If your dog has parvo, do not keep any other dogs in your home. You must quarantine your dog completely from other dogs to ensure it does not spread.
A parvo-infected dog will shed the virus between 4 to 5 days after initial exposure. From there, symptoms will become present.
Even if a dog is in the recovering stages, you still need to quarantine him. He will still shed the virus for up to 10 days even if he’s made a full recovery.
If you have had a dog with parvo, in general, I do not recommend getting another one for at least a couple of years.
Bleach is known to be one of the only chemicals strong enough to kill the virus, but it’s a resilient one. It can actually survive in the ground for years.
Go Straight to the Vet
Parvo is a very deadly virus that kills hundreds of dogs every year. If you suspect your dog has parvo, you need to get to the vet as soon as you can – he may not have much time.