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Canine Parvovirus (Parvo)

Parvo is a highly infectious virus.  It causes diarrhea which can sometimes be bloody.  Diarrhea can be mild or severe fatal.  In an otherwise alert, eating, and drinking dog it is more likely that the cause may be due to a diet change, stress, or a parasite rather than to parvovirus.  Always report any diarrhea symptoms to your veterinarian to evaluate.

 

Other symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, weakness, depression, and fever.  Since the virus attacks white blood cells it makes the dog much more susceptible to other bacterial infections and it is always best to have it treated by your veterinarian. 

 

Parvovirus is HIGHLY contagious and is spread by exposure to feces.  Sadly, it is common for dogs from animal shelters to have been exposed to the virus.  Therefore, the dog should be observed for at least 14 days after it has been brought home.  Since the dog may not show any symptoms initially, he/she may be incubating the virus.  It is best to keep the dog and its feces away from other dogs, puppies, or other unvaccinated dogs during this observation period. 

 

If you have any suspicion your dog may have been exposed to the virus, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.  Early diagnosis is critical, followed by early treatment.  Treatment with fluids (usually through an I.V.) , antibiotics, and around the clock nursing care, will give your dog a greater chance to make a full recovery.