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Canine Parvovirus

BloomingPaws Vet Clinic has facts and information on the health and care of dogs and cats infected with Canine Parvovirus from our team of veterinarians.

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus causing gastrointestinal disease in affected dogs. It does occur commonly in the Bloomington, IN area in unvaccinated or under-vaccinated puppies.

Facts about Canine Parvovirus

  • It is found worldwide.
  • There seems to be a higher susceptibility in Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Pit Bulls, Labrador retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, and Alaskan sled dogs.
  • Most infected dogs are between 6 weeks and 6 months of age.
  • It is a stable virus in the environment (surviving in feces or other organic material in soil for over a year).
  • A 1:30 bleach solution after proper cleaning will destroy it.

Transmission of Canine Parvovirus

  • Fecal-oral route—ingesting the feces of an infected dog.
  • It can be spread from anything that has infected feces on it–clothing, shoes, bedding, food, insects, and rodents.
  • There will be 3-7 days from time of exposure to time clinical symptoms appear.

Clinical Symptoms of Canine Parvovirus

  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea—commonly bloody
  • Weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Pale mucous membranes (inner cheeks and gums)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Elevated or depressed temperature

Diagnosis for Canine Parvovirus

  • Baseline lab work—CBC (Complete Blood Count), Chemistry
  • Fecal testing for intestinal parasites
  • Fecal ELISA test—may be negative early on in the disease because the virus sheds for a short period of time.
  • Abdominal radiographs
  • Other testing sent to a diagnostic laboratory

Treatment for Canine Parvovirus

  • There is no cure for canine parvovirus.
  • Treatment is aimed at symptomatic and supportive. Hospitalization with IV fluid support will improve recovery. Antibiotics, medications to control vomiting, and pain medications are often used. These patients must be kept in isolation.

Prevention for Canine Parvovirus

  • Vaccinate both puppies and breeding mothers. The vaccine takes up to 2 weeks to reach effective levels of immunity.
  • A dog that successfully recovers from parvovirus is contagious for up to 3 weeks.
  • If one pet in the household is positive, any dogs that are not current on vaccines should be vaccinated immediately.
  • This vaccine is part of the puppy series and then a booster is given yearly to every three years thereafter.