Canine Parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease. Puppies less than 6 months old and unvaccinated dogs are most at risk to contract a serious case of the disease, which can be fatal. Vaccination is the best way to prevent this disease.

Transmission

  • Parvovirus is spread primarily through exposure to infected feces. It's best to not let your dog or puppy sniff other dogs' waste. Parvo can also be spread by humans on items such as shoes.
  • Parvo cannot be killed with regular household cleaners, and can persist in the environment for months to years if not killed with bleach.
  • You can clean items you suspect to be infected with a solution of one part household bleach to 30 parts water.
  • There is no way to fully decontaminate yards.
  • Dogs infected with parvovirus should be isolated from other dogs and given medical attention by a veterinarian.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms include: vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, severe and/or bloody diarrhea, and dehydration.
  • If your puppy or dog exhibits these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Prevention

  • Immunize your puppy or dog according to your veterinarian's advice.
  • Vaccinations should begin at 6 to 8 weeks of age with follow-up booster shots. Puppies should receive a series of booster vaccines between the ages of 6 and 16 weeks.
  • A single vaccine is not adequate protection for a puppy.
  • Adult dogs should receive a booster shot regularly at your veterinarian's direction.
  • Until your puppy receives its complete series of shots, or if your adult dog is not current on its boosters, you should be cautious when socializing your pet at kennels, pet shops, parks, obedience classes, daycare, and the groomer.

Reporting

Veterinarians are asked to report cases of parvovirus to the State Public Health Veterinarian.

Published: March 17, 2009;    Updated: April 10, 2012

Filed Under: Companion Animals, Dogs

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association

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