(PET HEALTH/DOGS) You’ve vaccinated your dog against Parvovirus, but do you know what it is? Ciara Black is a Global Animal contributor from the Dog Help Network, a resource for dog health related websites. Read on for her important information on canine Parvo, and how you can protect your pet. — Global Animal

sad dog looking sick, lying on ground
There are two types of canine Parvovirus: cardiac and intestinal, but one is more serious than the other. Photo Credit: Mariela M. via Flickr

Dog Help Network, Ciara Black

Canine Parvovirus, or Parvo for short, has a few different names for different strains. There are two types of Parvo that affect dogs: cardiac and intestinal. The more serious of the two is cardiac, which usually results in death before any symptoms are even present. Intestinal Parvovirus in dogs is also quite serious, but as long as it is caught early enough and treated immediately, there is a chance the dog could survive.

Parvovirus is a very serious and highly contagious virus that can last up to 6 months in the household and can affect your dog for up to a month and a half. It is resistant to most disinfectants (with the exception of bleach), survives in freezing temperatures, and can also survive in heat. Parvovirus can take up to 14 days to show any symptoms in your dog. It causes major vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration very quickly.

Dog Parvo has adapted over time, and there is no anti-viral medicines to cure it. The best way to treat Parvo is to prevent it with proper vaccinations and immediate treatment if you suspect your dog may have contracted it.

How Does My Dog Get Parvo?

Parvo in puppies – Parvo can affect any dog at any age, but puppies (6-10 weeks of age) are especially susceptible. Once a puppy has been infected, there is about a 50/50 chance of survival, if you know what to look for and get him help immediately. To avoid Parvo in puppies, be sure to have your puppy the recommended vaccinations.

Certain breeds – Any dog may contract Parvo, but for unknown reasons, certain breeds seem to be more vulnerable. These breeds are known as “tan and black” breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers and Labradors.

Feces – Parvovirus can thrive inside a dog’s system for up to 3 months. If your dog has eaten feces, or has come into indirect contact with fecal matter (shoes, fur, dried particles, etc.) he can become infected very easily.

Direct contact – Dog parks, kennels, dog pounds, etc. are all examples of areas your dog could become infected with Parvo from another dog.

Symptoms Of Parvo

Parvo symptoms take up to two weeks to develop and become noticeable.

Symptoms of Parvo may not be present in your dog for up to 14 days. Symptoms of Parvo are very similar to other illnesses, and any present symptoms are a sign your dog is not well. Since it is contracted by ingestion of an infected substance, the symptoms will be present from the digestive system and stomach.

Symptoms of Parvo include:

  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea, accompanied by a very unmistakeable odor.
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

If your dog displays any symptoms, take him to the veterinarian immediately. Even if it seems minor, better safe than sorry when dealing with Parvovirus.

Parvo and Humans

Many people become concerned that Parvovirus is transmittable from dog to human. This is not the case. Humans have their own strain of Parvo called Fifth Disease or B19.

Parvo in humans is very mild and can be treated by a doctor. Some symptoms of Fifth Disease include fever and mild rash.

If you are concerned about catching your dog’s strain of Parvovirus, simply prevent it by constantly washing your hands after handling and treating your sick puppy or dog. Keep the area clean to stop the spread of the disease as well.

You can learn more about Parvo, causes, symptoms and treatment options at www.parvoresource.com