Canine Parvovirus

Initial Symptons

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • High fever
  • Vomitting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Weight Loss
  • Dehydration

How is it spread?

Canine Parvovirua can be spread between dogs directly or indirectly through their feces and soil.

A healthy dog for example, that sniffs an infected dog’s stool can contract the disease.

Any dog that has survived parvo will still have remnants of the virus in their feces which can last as long as three weeks. Canine Parvovirus can infact live in feces or other organic matter for more than a year, so decontaminating affected areas is neccesary.

Active parvo can be treated with a water/bleach solution (15:1 ratio) with a waiting period of 6 months before another dog can be brought into the area.

What is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine parvovirus also known as CPV is a highly contagious virus that spreads very quickly and can kill in a matter of days.

In untreated dogs, the mortality rate is 90%

If aggressively treated, the mortality rate is between 5 -20%

Intestinal is the most common form of the disease.

The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of fetuses and very young puppies.

At Risk

Puppies and unvaccinated dogs are the most susceptible to canine parvovirus.


Vaccination is the only prevention.


Dogs that develop parvo will show symptoms 3-10 days after being exposed.


An EIA or hemagglutination test can be performed on feces to look for signs of the canine parvovirus, but this can result in the dog not shedding much of the virus in their feces in later stages. With this in mind many vets rely upon PCR or polymerase chain reaction to test for the virus (a process of amplifying a piece of DNA)


There is no cure at present. The canine parvovirus treatment is focused on curing the symptoms and preventing secondary infections. The earlier the virus is detected and treatment begins, the better the outlook for treatment.

Treatment generally consists of the administration of IV fluids, administration of anti-nausea medications and injection of antibiotics.

In some cases a blood plasma transfusion may be used.

Dogs that show a low white blood count generally continue with oral antibiotics.

Once a dog can keep fluids down they will be weaned off additional fluids and given prescription based food that is easy on the gastrointestinal system.

Learn more about canine parvovirus from PetMD

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