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All About Canine Parvovirus – Symptoms, Cure & Prevention

If you have recently welcomed a new puppy into your house and aiming to provide an amazing life to this small furry friend, then you need to understand the biggest challenge that can occur in the puppy’s early life. Parvo is a common disease among puppies that can lead to deadly consequences, and the dog owner must remain informed about the symptoms so that timely treatment can be provided to the dog. Multiple causes can also infect a dog, and you can make attempts to avoid them to ensure the better health of your dog. Keep reading the article to attain complete information about parvo in dogs, along with the prevention techniques and home remedies, so the battle against parvo can become easier.

What is Parvo in dogs?

If you want to understand what is parvo in dogs then go through this without skipping. Canine parvovirus, or CPV or parvo, is a highly contagious virus that can easily spread from an infected puppy to other dogs. Viral transmission can occur either directly or indirectly by getting in contact with an object used by a parvo-infected dog. Your dog or puppy can become highly vulnerable to parvovirus if he sniffs or eats infected faeces. The risk of indirect transmission is also very high and can even happen when a person, who has recently come into contact with the infected dog, touches or holds your puppy. 

Parvo can also spread through contact with contaminated things like collars & leashes, and dog food bowls. To protect your puppy from parvo, use a parvo disinfectant if you have handled any infected dogs or have been exposed to them.

How Does a Dog Get Parvo?

Parvo, or canine parvovirus, is a highly contagious and potentially fatal virus that affects dogs of all ages. It is usually spread through contact with infected feces, saliva, or other bodily fluids. Even if a dog has been vaccinated against parvo, it is still possible for them to get the virus if they come into contact with an infected animal. Knowing how does a dog get parvo and the symptoms to look out for can help pet owners protect their furry friends from this dangerous disease.

Ever wondered how do dogs get parvo? The primary cause of parvovirus spread in dogs is direct or indirect contact with an infected dog or thing. It happens because of variations in the original parvovirus, and the susceptibility can increase further due to other risk factors. The concentration of the virus in the infected dog’s stool is very high. So, when a healthy dog gets in touch with that stool or smells the bottom part of the parvo dogs, the healthy puppy or dog also gets infected with the parvovirus. Moreover, if your shoes come in contact with the infected dog’s stool, then it can also bring parvovirus to the environment of the dog.

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Parvo Symptoms in Dogs

The moment you notice the degradation in the health of your puppy, you should take him to your veterinarian for a health check-up. It is because catching the signs of parvo in dogs earlier can save the life of your pet and can also make the recovery process quick. As parvo is common in puppies, you can contact your vet for a regular check-up every month to prevent any such condition with your dog. However, it is important to recognize the following parvo symptoms in dogs in order to take quick action:

  • Severe hydration
  • Fever and weakness
  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Vomiting and weight loss
  • Lethargy and Anorexia

All these symptoms can turn into chronic illness within a few days and act as an indication of this disease. You must call your vet immediately after noticing any of the above symptoms. The vet can also provide you with the right quarantine methods, so the parvo doesn’t spread to other dogs.

All About Stages Of Parvo Virus in Dogs

The stages of dog parvo are similar to the stages of different viral infections. Here are details about the different stages of canine parvovirus so that you can identify them earlier and take your dog to the vet for proper treatment:

Stage 1: Infection

A puppy or an adult dog gets exposed to parvovirus through faecal materials from the infected dog. This virus can enter a dog’s body from different sources, such as the environment, the mother dog, or people or contaminated objects that have come in direct contact with the infected dog’s faeces. Even an extremely small piece of faecal material is enough to cause an infection in a dog and can enter through the puppy’s mouth.

Stage 2: Incubation

The incubation period lasts from three to seven days, during which the dog doesn’t show any significant symptoms even after getting infected with parvovirus. In this period, the virus attacks the throat’s lymph nodes or the tonsils and looks for those cells that divide rapidly in the body. The primary reason to attack them is that it allows the virus to multiply its number effectively and quickly and opens the door for invading other parts of the dog’s internal system. After entering the bloodstream, the virus seeks different sources having a rapid pace of cell division. The areas most affected are bone marrow and cells in the small intestine’s inner lining. In puppies, this virus can even attack their heart, leading to poor heart functions and arrhythmias.

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Step 3: Illness

When a virus attacks the bone marrow, a puppy or an adult dog starts showing illness symptoms. It is because the young immune cells are affected in this process, which results in the depletion of the number of white blood cells. It ultimately leads to weakening the body’s potential to defend itself from foreign materials and paves the way for easy entry into the gastrointestinal tract. This makes the tract unable to absorb nutrients, control the loss of fluid into the stool, and stop the movement of bacteria into the gut. It can worsen the health situation of the dog. Although parvo is not always deadly, in some puppies, it can lead to fatal consequences because of severe dehydration or shock.

Step 4: Recovery Period

Recovery often takes time, but the time required for complete recovery may vary for each case. The recovery depends primarily upon the damages done to the dog’s body and the severity of the parvovirus. The severity usually remains for 5 to 10 days after the symptoms appear for the first time. For quick recovery, it is essential to provide puppies with adequate nutrition and a proper diet so that their intestines can heal from the significant damage. You can provide a bland, easy-to-digest diet to the dog recovering from the parvo infection.

How to Treat Parvo in Canines?

After running a diagnostic test based on clinical symptoms and blood samples, the vet begins the treatment for parvovirus. Your veterinarian may also suggest an ELISA antibody test to look for virus antigens in the dog’s stool. It is also possible that your dog may have to go through other diagnostic tests to determine the exact reason behind the illnesses. There is no specific treatment to cure parvo in dogs. Vets usually provide supportive care for a puppy to treat symptoms like diarrhoea, dehydration, and vomiting. It will also enable your puppy to obtain adequate nutrition.

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Your vet may also provide antibiotic medications to cure the damage caused to the dog’s intestinal wall. It will reduce the risk of secondary infections and help in combating bacterial infections. The extra monitoring by the vet is also crucial so that the step can be taken for additional complications at the right time. The survival rate in dogs with parvo can be up to 92 percent if proper treatment is given. Also, puppies who survive the initial 3 to 4 days can recover fully. Normally, a puppy can recover within one week after taking medications. You must take preventive measures for the entire treatment period so that the parvo doesn’t spread to other puppies or dogs in the house.

How Long Does Parvo Last in a Dogs?

The hospital stay of a dog suffering from parvo can vary from five to seven days. But it completely depends on the severity of the disease and the present health condition. The dog remains at a high risk of death after 24 to 72 hours of showing symptoms; hence, you must take your pet immediately after noticing the first sign of parvovirus. A puppy who gets hospitalized has a survival rate of 75-80% if appropriate supportive care is provided to them and monitored closely for five to seven days. Without medical attention or inadequate hospital supportive care, survival becomes nearly impossible. 

Even if your puppy has clinically recovered from the parvovirus, he can still shed the virus to other dogs for the next 10 days. Therefore, it is necessary to keep other unvaccinated dogs from the reach of the puppy with parvo. The virus can even survive indoors for one month or more. To kill this virus inside your four walls, you can use a cleaner recommended by your vet.

How to Prevent Parvovirus in Dogs?

Parvovirus vaccine is available in the market that can act as a safeguard for your puppies and adult dogs against parvovirus. Timely complete vaccination can make it easier to protect parvo in puppies. This vaccination can also benefit female dogs who are going to breed. It is because, for the initial few weeks of life, puppies depend on the antibodies produced by their mother. Further, you can stop contact of your dog with other unvaccinated dogs who haven’t received the complete doses of parvo vaccination. You should also ensure that every dog in your house is vaccinated. 

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Dog parks and other areas where dogs interact with other dogs are also significant sources of the spread of parvo infection. It is better to socialize your puppy or dog in a less crowded environment. You can also opt for boarding facilities, puppy classes, or dog day care facilities, as they include only those participants who show proof of vaccination. You can also consult your vet for the cautions required while socializing your puppy. The best prevention technique is to understand is How to prevent parvovirus in dogs? how it spreads from one dog to another so that you can keep your dog safe.

Are There Home Remedies for Canine Parvovirus?

There are no specific home remedies for parvo virus. However, if the dog is not showing severe symptoms or the treatment is expensive, then your vet can look for treating the dog on an outpatient basis. This treatment includes a special easy-to-digest diet, antiemetics to control vomiting, subcutaneous fluids for proper hydration, and antidiarrheal. Although following this treatment and providing proper care can recover the dog from parvo, it is safer and better to take your dog to a hospital after encountering parvovirus symptoms. Using any other home remedy may be dangerous for your puppy’s health and can even lead to fatal consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can humans get dog parvo?

Humans cannot get parvovirus from dogs, and vice versa is also true. But it is essential to wear proper protective equipment so the virus cannot spread to other dogs.

Can a vaccinated dog get parvo?

Although the vaccine doesn’t provide 100% protection, it can effectively protect your dog from the canine parvovirus. The chances are extremely rare that a completely vaccinated dog can get the parvo infection.

Can a dog get parvovirus twice?

Immunity gained from parvovirus lasts for many years, and it is unlikely that a dog recovered from parvo can get infected by it again.


Parvo in dogs is a common disease that can happen at any stage of the dog’s life. Puppies remain highly vulnerable to this virus, and it can cause several health consequences that can lead to the dog’s death. Precise treatment for parvo is not available, but methods used for curing are effective enough for the dog’s recovery. The essential precautionary measure is providing the complete parvo vaccination to the dog, which can protect the dog from severe infection. You can also take other precautions, so the virus doesn’t enter your house or your dog’s environment.