What Is Parvo?
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious, life-threatening virus that rapidly infects the dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely in the intestinal tract. The virus is highly resistant and can survive in the ground for up to 9 years, being transmitted primarily through contact with an infected dog’s feces. Anyone who comes into contact with an infected dog’s feces (a trace on the bottom of someone’s shoe as they walk along an outdoor trail, for instance) can pass the virus on to other dogs.
Symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. All of these can lead to life-threatening dehydration.
The disease takes about one week to treat and once the puppies are free of parvo, these amazing young dogs go on to lead normal, healthy lives and are highly adoptable!
How Can Parvo Be Prevented?
Vaccinate! Young puppies are the most susceptible to parvo. Puppies can be given a 5-in-1 vaccine called DHLPP (which protects the puppy from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza) or a 4-in-1 DAPP (which protects against canine distemper, adenovirus type 2, parainfluenza, and the parvovirus) at their local vet.
The first vaccine is ideally given between 6 and 8 weeks of age, with boosters given at 3-week intervals until the puppy is at least 4 months old (the series is not complete for ages younger than this).
Until the vaccination series is complete, puppies should stay away from all potentially infected public ground (where other dogs have walked and fecal matter may be present) like dog parks, hike & bike trails, and sidewalks.