What Every Puppy Owner Should Know About Parvo?

What Every Puppy Owner Should Know About Parvo?

Table of Contents

  1. What Is Parvo?
  2. Why Do Puppies Get Parvo?
  3. How Long Are Puppies With Parvo Contagious?
  4. Symptoms
  5. Treatment

1. What Is Parvo?

Parvo disease in puppies is caused by parvovirus. Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that’s transmitted through direct and indirect contact with an infected dog. Your puppy will be exposed to the virus every time it sniffs, licks, or consumes something contaminated by parvovirus. When a person who has recently had contact with an infected dog touches their puppy, or when a puppy encounters an object such as food and water that is contaminated by the virus; it’s possible for the indirect transmission to occur.

Parvo is classified as a disorder of the stomach and the small intestine, which is why it does so much damage here.

2. Why Do Puppies Get Parvo?

Puppies between six weeks and six months of age are most susceptible to parvovirus. Puppies are vaccinated against Parvo at 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age. Puppies are suspected of the disease until they have received all three vaccinations, which means that owners must take extra steps during this time to keep their puppies from getting the virus.

The severity of parvo cases varies. Weaning stress can lead to more severe cases in puppies, as their weakened immune system is less able to fight off illness.  

The top breeds of dogs that are at an increased risk of parvo are:

  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • German Shepherd Dogs
  • American Staffordshire Terriers
  • Labrador Retrievers

3. How Long Are Puppies With Parvo Contagious?

Puppies and adult dogs with parvovirus infection begin to shed the virus 4-5 days after infection. Unfortunately, this time frame does not always coincide with the first symptoms of Parvo, which means dogs may become infected before the owner realises that the puppy is sick.  Keep the recovering puppy away from other dogs for at least 10 days. Puppies infected with parvo continue to shed the virus even after clinical recovery, so be careful of passing it on.


4. Symptoms

A dog with a parvo is very sick. The sooner you find the first signs of the virus in a puppy, the sooner you can take your dog to the vet. Since parvo is common in puppies, you should see your veterinarian when your puppy is not feeling well. But you should also be aware of the specific symptoms if your puppy has parvo.

Some of the most common symptoms of parvo are:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Dehydration


5. Treatment

Your veterinarian diagnoses parvo based on clinical signs and blood tests. Your vet can also perform a test called an ELISA to look for viral antigens in your dog’s stool and determine whether additional diagnostic tests are needed.

There is no cure for parvo. Your veterinarian will provide supportive care for your puppy throughout the illness, treat symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration, and ensure your puppy is getting adequate nutrition along with the proper dog food


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