What You Need To Know About Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease, most common in the dog family. Due to the severity of symptoms and the weak immune systems of younger dogs, parvo is of particular concern to puppy owners.

There seem to be ways to help prevent and stop the spread of parvo, and it is essential to be familiar with these methods of prevention as a responsible owner. Active prevention starts by understanding the virus itself’s virology and pathophysiology.

two corgi dogs

The common form is the intestinal form, characterized by diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and anorexia. A less common type is the cardiac form, which often leads to death, which affects the heart muscles of fetuses and very young puppies.

Dogs under four months of age, unvaccinated dogs, and those without full immune systems are at risk. Some breeds, including American Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, English Springer Spaniels, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers, are more vulnerable to parvo infection.


The Symptoms Of Parvovirus

Parvo usually infects for five to ten days, which means that they will start to show signs five to ten days after a dog is exposed to the parvovirus. The symptoms vary from dog to dog for several reasons, but most often seen with the disease are a handful of traits.

Most general dogs that contracted this virus will become incredibly lethargic, have a fever, start vomiting, and diarrhea as well. What tells many people that their dog is having a problem is the presence of blood in their diarrhea.

It’s crucial that you take them to the vet immediately if you ever find blood in your dog’s feces. Your dog may also begin to suffer from dehydration and disease as a result of these primary symptoms.

Dogs with diarrhea or vomiting should always be properly hydrated. If this is not achievable at home or if you suspect a parvo infection, take your dog to the veterinarian, and they will start to take IV fluids.

The Causes Of Parvovirus And How It Infects Its Host

Parvo is not caused by ticks, fleas, lice. though if there is tick or fleas infestation in your home, it is advisable to call a pest control company near you. Parvovirus is very virulent in that the infection requires only a small number of viral particles.

Depending on environmental factors that help or discourage viral maintenance, such as humidity, sunlight, and temperature, these particles may remain infectious outside the body for about five months.

a sick black dog

The Infection is based on direct contact with mucus membranes and body tissues through viral particles. As the back of the nasal cavity attaches to the throat in a common area called the pharynx, Parvo enters the body through the mouth and possibly through the nose.

The main sites that are the receiver of parvo are the lymph nodes at the back of the throat, which then replicates within white blood cells. The white blood cells are immune system cells that are responsible for detecting and combating infection, controlling inflammation, cleaning up tissue damage, and other functions that are vital to the day-to-day maintenance of the organ system.

The Infection happens when the mouth comes into contact with anything that contains or has been infected with parvo, including;

  • Surfaces –floors, towels, cages/crates, blankets, rugs, etc.
  • Parts of the body–dog’s own paws, caretaker’s hands, fur, etc.
  • Outfit–shoes, uniforms, etc.
  • Substances such as diarrhea, feces, dirt, grass, etc.
  • Medical equipment –stethoscope.

How Parvovirus Is Treated

Parvovirus is treated by helping the body eliminate the virus in its process. Veterinarians are always trying to get ahead of the damaging effects of the disease. So many processes are negatively affected.


Hypothermia (low body temperature) is usually associated with infection with parvo and dehydration so that additional heat sources can normalize body temperature. A warm towel and IV fluids or forced-air heating systems can be used as long as sufficient care is taken to clean the post-treatment products.


Infected dogs must be restricted to a part of a hospital where the infection will not be transmitted to vulnerable dogs because of the high virulence of parvovirus. Several hospitals are equipped with separation rooms with negative pressure airflow to prevent the virus from escaping and in the immediate area affecting other areas.

In addition, it is risky to bring in any dog to meet with your pets without knowing their health status. Ensure you limit your dog access to other dogs as much as you can, especially when there is an outbreak of parvovirus in your area.


There are lots of bacteria that live inside and on the body’s surface that can potentially sicken a dog if the bacteria either proliferate in the usual location or translocate to another part of the body. Before you use antibiotics for your four-legged best friend, ensure to speak with your local vet.

Liquid Therapy

Liquid therapy can be given in many ways, including through mouth (per os, or PO), intravenously (IV, or in the vein), or subcutaneously (SC, or under the skin). When parvo-infected dogs, they exhibit mild to severe disturbed digestive tract such as vomiting. It is not typically a viable treatment option to try to get enough liquids in through the mouth. Intravenous fluids are the best option because tissues in need of hydration are most effectively hydrated by the rapid expansion of blood volume as liquids are pumped into the vein. The Injectable meds are; antibiotics, anti-nausea and antacids, vitamins B-complex, and others.


The digestive system is the base of the immune system of a dog since the small and large intestines are abundant in a range of beneficial bacteria that promote digestion and the removal of waste called probiotics.

A brown dog

Antacid And Anti-nausea Drugs

The severe effect of Parvo on the digestive system causes nausea and increases the possibility of vomiting. Antacid medicine (famotidine, omeprazole, etc.) decreases gastric acid production and can reduce the adverse effects on the esophagus as well as vomiting.

Some methods can be used to treat parvovirus. Contact your vet if you notice any signs of parvovirus.

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