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Parvo In Dogs

Sick DogCanine parvovirus type 2 or “parvo” is a highly contagious virus that is particularly prominent in the canine community. Parvo is of particular concern for puppy owners due to the severity of symptoms and the weak immune systems of younger dogs. There are ways to help prevent parvo, and it from spreading, and as a responsible dog owner it is important to be familiar with these prevention methods. Effective prevention begins with understanding the virology and pathophysiology of the virus itself.

What is Canine Parvovirus Type 2 or Parvo?

Canine parvovirus type 2 (known as parvo) is classified as a group II virus in the family Parvoviridae and the genus Parvovirus. Parvo in dogs is extremely contagious and is spread through a dog’s feces whether through direct or indirect contact with the feces of an infected dog. There are two different types of the canine parvo virus, classified by the system of the body that is mainly affected:

Cardiac Manifestation of Parvo

The cardiac manifestation of parvo is characterized by cardiovascular failure or respiratory failure in puppies. The cardiac variant of parvo is much less common than the intestinal form and is found in very young puppies under eight weeks old. These puppies usually have been infected by a mother with parvo while they were still in utero. The virus targets the muscles of the heart and these muscles are not strong enough to withstand the virus. In almost all cases of cardiac parvo virus infection, young puppies die. The death of a puppy infected with this variant of parvo can come on suddenly with little sign of distress or it can be accompanied by a short period of respiratory trouble. Veterinary surgeons have found that the virus results in microscopic necrosis of heart tissue in dogs that do not survive. In dogs that are somehow able to withstand this virus, there is evidence of fibrosis or the growth of fibrous tissue which may cause complication in later life.

Fortunately, there are fewer cases of the cardiac presentation of the parvovirus these days due to the availability of a vaccination that is given routinely to dogs intended for breeding.

Intestinal Manifestation of Parvo

Where the cardiac manifestation of the parvovirus is passed from the infected mother to her puppies in utero, the intestinal form of this virus is passed through oral contact with the parvo virus. The virus can be spread through fomites, feces or through infected soil and once an uninfected dog comes in to oral contact with the infection through any of these means, the virus can quickly spread. The first step in infection of a dog is when the canine parvo virus is ingested and it replicates in the lymphoid tissue located in the dog’s throat. After replication the virus then spreads to the bloodstream where it attacks cells within the body that naturally divide quickly. There are a number of cells that seem to be most affected by the virus because of their rapidly dividing nature, these include: bone marrow and lymph nodes. The virus then begins to deplete the lymphocytes found in the lymph nodes and destroys and kills the tissue in the intestines. As the intestines are affected by the virus it becomes possible for leakage to occur in the bloodstream which results in sepsis that can quickly lead to death. If the virus is caught quickly enough, treatment can begin and death can be prevented. There are a number of side effects that can result from intestinal parvo that can be extremely severe, so seeking treatment immediately is imperative.

It is important to understand that a dog that has survived parvo will still have remnants of the virus in their feces for as long as three weeks. It is also crucial to know that a dog that has been affected with the parvovirus at some point during their life will forever be a carrier of the virus and they can shed the virus at various points during their lifespan.

Is Parvo Always Deadly?

As a dog owner, one of the most frequently asked questions is whether parvo is always deadly. Many times when we hear of this disease it’s in relation to young puppies and, unfortunately, in these cases puppies generally cannot survive. When puppies are too young to be vaccinated against the parvo virus and they have not been protected by maternal antibodies as a result of vaccination of a breeding female, they lack the defenses to fight against this aggressive virus. In some cases; however, dogs can recover from parvo. When left untreated, the mortality rate of parvo virus infection is around 91%. When treated with more aggressive therapy, parvo mortality rates can drop to 20% to 5%, but not without lasting effects.

Parvo At A Glance

  • Parvo was discovered in the 1970’s. In two years, the virus spread worldwide.
  • Dogs that develop parvo will show symptoms 3-10 days after being exposed.
  • Symptoms include: vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea (usually bloody), and fever.
  • Mortality rate: 91 percent if left untreated, 5-20 percent if aggressively treated.
  • 80 percent of adult dogs show no symptoms; puppies are most susceptible.
  • Extremely resilient, parvo can live in feces or other organic material for more than a year.
  • The only household cleaner that will destroy the virus is bleach.
  • Vaccination is the only prevention.

What Happens When Puppies Are Infected With Parvo Through Maternal Exposure?

Unfortunately for puppies, they can become affected with the parvo virus when their unvaccinated mother is exposed to and contracts it herself. The tricky part of this contagion process is that the mother may not always show symptoms of the virus and she may even develop immunity to it after her puppies have already been infected. After puppies exposed to the parvo virus are born, however, they often show symptoms of the disease and rarely survive. Some of the signs seen in young puppies born with the virus include cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition in which the cerebellum is under developed or incomplete. Other neurological abnormalities are also seen in infected puppies and often these dogs will not be strong enough to fight the complications that accompany their condition.

What are the Symptoms of Parvo?

A vet researching parvoParvo generally incubates for five to ten days, meaning that five to ten days after a dog is exposed to the virus they will begin to show symptoms. Symptoms vary from dog to dog for a number of reasons, but a handful of symptoms are most commonly seen with infection. Most commonly dogs that have contracted this virus will become extremely lethargic, will have a fever, will begin vomiting and will also have diarrhea. What tips most people off to there being a problem with their dog is the presence of blood in their diarrhea. It is important that if you ever notice blood in your dog’s stool that you take them to the vet immediately. As a result of these primary symptoms, dogs can also begin to suffer from dehydration and infection. Any dog with diarrhea or vomiting should always be kept properly hydrated, if this is not possible at home or if you suspect a parvo infection, take your dog to the vet and they will begin to administer IV fluids.

In cases of intestinal parvo, the lining of the intestines can become damaged and protein and blood can leak into the bloodstream. This can cause a number of medical concerns such as sepsis, anemia, the escape of endotoxins into the bloodstream and a severe drop in white blood cells. Depending on the overall health of the dog, any one of these conditions can severely debilitate or kill an infected dog.

The first sign to look for in a dog infected with parvo is lethargy. A lethargic dog may be difficult to spot if you have an older dog or a dog that has very little energy as a result of any number of conditions. A lethargic dog will not want to get up for treats or food and they will generally fail to respond to any type of stimulation such as their favorite toy. Failing to notice the lethargy that can be seen in parvo infected dogs is not uncommon but the loss of appetite and diarrhea that follow are much more difficult to miss. After the development of diarrhea, dogs may also begin vomiting.

is Parvo Different from Heartworms?

As mentioned above, parvo is a virus whereas all worms in dogs, including heartworms, are parasites. Parasites are sometimes easy to spot in dog waste, but often are not easily detected by the human eye. The symptoms for parvo and heartworms in dogs are almost identical and so is the cost of treatment and severity of health concerns. Both can potentially result in death if not treated quickly and correctly but the good news is that both can be treated with preventative medicines such as HeartGard. (Parasites like worms and ticks thrive in warm climates so be especially cautious about remembering the monthly heartworm preventative medicine during summer months. Your dog will thank you.)

How is Parvo Diagnosed?

If your dog shows any of the signs of parvo virus you should take him or her to the vet immediately. When parvo is suspected, an EIA or hemagglutination test can be performed on feces to look for signs of the canine parvo virus. An electron microscope may also be used to look for signs of the virus. The drawback to using EIA or enzyme immunoassay for testing for signs of the parvo virus is that dogs in later stages of the disease may not shed much of the virus in their feces. In these cases many veterinarians rely upon PCR or polymerase chain reaction to test for the virus. The term PCR refers to a process of amplifying a piece of DNA across various magnitudes. This type of PCR amplification results in thousands (or more) of copies of the DNA sequence being looked at to magnify causes for concern.

Ruling out Other Causes

If a dog shows symptoms similar to those of parvo, it is important that your veterinarian be able to rule out other potential causes. Looking for signs of parvo in feces is the easiest way to determine infection. Other symptoms that cluster are also indicative of a parvo infection, these include: a low white blood cell count, diarrhea with blood in it and evidence of necrosis in the intestinal lining. These symptoms are more classic to parvo infection than any other illness. While the intestinal form of parvo virus can occasionally be confused with other types of illnesses such as corona virus, there is no mistaking the symptoms of cardiac parvo.

Treatment of Parvo Virus

There are a number of factors that determine how effective treatment can be against parvo virus once a dog has already been infected. There is currently a particularly effective vaccine for dogs that have not yet been exposed to the illness, but dogs that have already been infected with the virus face a much different road of treatment. Time is one of the most significant factors in whether or not a treatment for parvo will be successful: The earlier the virus is detected and treatment begins, the better the outlook for treatment. Age also plays a significant role in how effective a parvo treatment will be. Extremely young, old or immune-compromised dogs will not be able to withstand the more aggressive types of treatments designed to eradicate parvo.

Hospitalization and Medication

A dog with parvo should always be hospitalized in order to receive treatment. Treatment generally consists of the administration of crystalloid IV fluids and or colloids, administration of anti-nausea medications and injection of antibiotics. The particular types of medications used – both anti-nausea and antibiotics — vary depending upon the dog and the vet issuing the treatment. Some dogs have particular sensitivities to certain medications and some veterinarians have a better track record with using specific treatments. If dogs continue to vomit or void their bowels during treatment, they are also administered additional fluids to rehydrate them. The administration of fluids overall serves to both rehydrate and re-balance levels of electrolytes and other elements in the body that help maintain healthy functions.

Blood Plasma Transfusions

In some cases veterinarians may choose to utilize a somewhat unique procedure called a blood plasma transfusion. This treatment involves taking blood plasma from a dog that has survived canine parvo virus and has developed antibodies to it. This blood is transfused in to the infected dog and is looked upon as providing passive immunity. There are no in-depth studies at the moment to identify whether or not this method is more effective in treating parvo than other more traditional methods.

Returning to Normal Function

After initial treatment for the parvo virus dogs will begin to be weaned off additional fluids, only once they are able to keep fluids down. Sustenance will be administered in the way of bland food; this is generally a prescription-based food that is easy on the gastrointestinal system. Oral antibiotics are generally continued after the initial treatment in dogs that show low white blood cell counts in order to help fight any potential for infection. Any type of infection following treatment for parvo can lead to death due to the weakened system of the infected dog. While some recommend non-conventional or homeopathic remedies for the treatment of parvo virus, it is crucial to understand just how quickly this disease progresses and how quickly it can kill an infected dog. Veterinarian treatment should always be sought in suspected cases of parvo.

Prevention of Parvo

Since parvo is such a devastating virus, one of the most significant things any dog owner can do is prevent infection of their dog. The first step in preventing parvo is vaccination. Puppies will derive immunity from their vaccinated mother and at four months old they receive a series of vaccinations to create their own immunity to the virus. Parvo vaccines are a set of three vaccinations that are spaced within a period of three to four weeks.

Decontamination of Parvo Infected Areas

Decontamination is another important part of ensuring that parvo does not spread. As the owner of a dog that has successfully been treated for parvo, it is important to understand that your dog can still contaminate with their feces and they can spread the virus to otherwise healthy dogs. The parvo virus is such a strong virus that it can survive living in soil for as long as a year so it is crucial to completely decontaminate areas where an infected or successfully treated dog eliminates their waste. Active parvo can be treated with a water/bleach solution with a ratio of 15:1. This bleach solution will kill any active parvo and should be used on any area that has been used as an elimination area for the dog. The general advised period for decontaminating an area and bringing another dog in to that area is six months. While grass and soil can be disinfected with bleach solution, a waiting period of six months is advised before bringing a new puppy home. It is also advised to ensure that a new puppy has all of their vaccinations before bringing them in to a home that has recently been exposed to parvo.

The Importance of Notifying the Neighbors

Another important step that should be taken by anyone who has a dog that has been infected with parvo is informing neighbors. Neighbors with dogs should be told that your dog has contracted parvo. Since parvo can be spread from dog to dog in addition to bring spread through feces and soil, neighbors dogs may have become infected simply by walking their dog on your grass. Share any information that you have learned about parvo with these neighbors and prompt them to have their dogs tested for the virus. Many people are afraid that their neighbors will be upset and as such they avoid notifying them. You should keep in mind however, that if a neighborhood dog has contracted parvo, your notification could be the only thing that gets them treatment before the virus causes too much damage.

Parvo Virus is Preventable

Parvo virus is a relatively new virus, discovered in the 1970’s. It is such a virulent disease that within two years of its discovery it had spread across the world. Parvo is a very destructive and very rapidly moving disease that can kill a dog in a matter of days but with the proper precautions it is possible to wipe out or at least cause a sharp decline in diagnosed cases. All it takes is regular vaccinations of all dogs in addition to treatment and appropriate decontamination of infected areas. Even if a dog is treated and successfully recovers from parvo without appropriate decontamination of the home area it is possible to cause the virus to spread to other dogs in the community. It takes a combination of responsible pet ownership, good veterinary care, and vigilant decontamination of infected areas in order to prevent and hopefully one day eliminate this devastating virus.

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About Jeff Butler
Jeff is our Editor-in-Chief and has a long history with dogs. Having lived with Boxers, Labs, Golden Retrievers and even a couple of Samoyeds, Jeff has experience raising many different types of dogs.
  • notsure

    I’m not sure if my puppies have parvo. If I give them the parvo shot will it help or not a good idea? Does anyone know?

  • AliceEspai

    I have also found an article about how parvo is spread. I’d like to know if this disease could also be transmitted to humans and how thoroughly we must disinfect your house if a dog has parvo. Would the neighbor have to clean his house if the dog went in for a short period of time?

    • Michelle Schenker

      Hi Alice, No, parvo in humans (parvovirus B19) only infects humans. So a person cannot catch the virus from a dog or cat and humans cannot catch it from their pets. So, as long as your house is clean for your pet and your neighbor does not have pets, they should be okay. Hope this helps. Take care of your pup!

  • jessi

    I have a 5 month old that is showing signs of parvo today. We are at the vet. Has anyone seen how much everything is? I don’t want to lose my pup but there is no why I can pay $700.00 for him to stay in the vet office. Even to take him home it’s $300 to take care of everything at home. I don’t know what they do.

  • April

    I have a puppy with parvo. He was diagnosed for like 2 days. And fortunately recovers. But I have questions regarding his status right now. Is there anyone I can talk to related to this? Any professionals whom I can talk to one on one. Please help. Thank you

  • Cheri

    My friend’s puppy, 8 wks old, has parvo and just got home today from the hospital. She is doing good. My dog is 1 1/2 yrs old and we are planning to be with them this weekend. Should I be concerned?

    • Michelle Schenker

      Hi Cheri,
      I would advise that you call your friend’s vet to see what they think or ask your friend to ask the dog’s vet. If you do not feel comfortable asking, I would suggest you not plan for your dogs to hang out together, just in case. Better safe than sorry.

  • Monica

    I have a 2 year old chihuahua I got yesterday. She isn’t current on vaccination and I plan on taking her tomorrow but I took her for a tiny walk today. How do I know if she caught Parvo on the walk? Will she show symptoms? I’m very worried she won’t have symptoms but will have the virus.

    • Michelle Schenker

      Hi Monica,
      Since you are going to the vet today, they should be able to help you diagnose any possible concerns. However, it seems unlikely that she would have caught something on one short walk but could have had it before you adopted her. Please keep us posted after you talk with the vet. Hope she is healthy and well.

  • Cynthia Johnson

    My girl got parvo at 4 1/2 months. No warning signs or signs of illness. She started with the vomiting and diarrhea at 8 pm and seizures at 11:30 pm. At first I thought she had eaten poison or something else that was making her sick…until the seizures. I rushed her to an emergency vet who said she had been poisoned and gave her tummy medication and fluids under the skin. $485 and go home with her. 24 hours later it all started again. By morning I was frantic and looking for a vet open on Sunday (Dobson Ranch Animal Hospital if you are in Mesa AZ). I got her there and they said it was too late. They would do what they could. She truly showed no signs of illness. She went to the office with me every day…was by my side 24/7. She was behind only one shot. I took her home Sunday because the vet closed early and she would have been alone all nite. I laid by the borrowed cage I had her in on my tile floor crying and laying my hand on her side gently…telling her I loved her and everything would be ok. I didn’t sleep a wink. I belonged to her from 4 weeks old and was not going to leave her alone for a second. Monday morning she was back at the vet 6am SHARP!!! I spent the next 3 days bleaching my house, my neighbors house, and my other neighbors house. I made 3 trips to the laundromat with everything…EVERYTHING…cloth in my house…bedding, curtains, all my clothing and theirs. All dog toys trashed. All dog bedding trashed. I planned to have a safe place for her to come home to …if she came home.
    $3000 later my girl is now 2 1/2 years old. She is beautiful and smart and her personality cannot be matched. But it was not easy. After I brought her home it was 3 weeks until She was back to herself. Even then she would panic if I tried to leave. There is so much more you have to do.
    Recommended time for bleaching your yard is 2 weeks. I did 6 weeks. Everyday. Twice. Went through 2 gallons a day and saturated the entire area. FYI: weeds LOVE bleach
    All cloth in my house…the above list …was washed two weeks after her return home. Then again 2 weeks later and two weeks after that
    Her diet was rice and chicken for 2 weeks …adding dry food slowly (this is great fun as I guarantee your dog will test you and leave the kibble behind making you feel guilty because my baby must be hungry right? Uh uh…don’t give in or it will be chicken and rice forever). I still have to watch her for the throwing up and switch her to chicken and rice when it starts. And it has been 2 years. Her growth was stunted. Her skin is hyper sensitive. She is my girl. This illness…parasite…this EVIL THING…Will change your baby forever. Remember that. You may be able to treat at home but you need a good vet to guide you. Every dog is different. An older dog came in the same day as mine…2 year old male…and died the next day. By all accounts Sassi should have died being younger. But she survived. Watch your baby for signs of what they need while they are sick and if you do all you can do and they still don’t make it do not blame yourself. Even the vet cannot save them every time.


    One of my friend’s dog has parvo. 2 almost 3 have died. Can anyone give me more tips? I have 5 dogs. Thank you.

  • vanessa

    My puppy is having symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting yesterday. She wouldn’t eat but today is eating and drinking. Does anyone know, can I give her her parvo shot today?

  • Michelle Schenker

    Hi Travon,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. That is just terrible. As for the new puppy, Jake, I would advise that you call the vet where you got the first shots or took Duke and ask how to make sure everything is safe now and in the future for Jake to stay safe from the risk of Parvo. They are closer to your situation than any of us and should be able to advise by phone without an office visit. Take care, M

    • Dee

      Also since Duke passed from parvo, it’s not wise to have the new puppy where Duke was since the virus is still active in your home. Do not put him in the area where Duke was and clean with bleach in that area every day. Good luck and I’m so sorry about your pup. I lost my Staffy Thumper a month ago… it still hurts.

  • Mew Ashley

    I am worried my dog might have parvo. I am taking her to the vets tomorrow. She probably contracted it in this way: there was this stray dog that came to the neighborhood about a week ago. His fur was badly matted and I felt sorry for him. I believe he had a broken leg as well, so I clipped his fur and bathed him twice. Well he stuck around and my mom thought he was cute. I noticed my dog Bella, was vomiting but I thought it was because she ate cat poop. Then I noticed the stray was lying in a corner and I thought it was because he was tired. There was also a lot of diarrhea, but I thought it was coming from him. He just died and I found his body underneath my mom’s bed. Then I found a pile of bloody diarrhea and blood on my dog’s rectum, meaning it was her poop. I believe she has parvo, but I do not have money to pay for something. I don’t want her to die either. I was just trying to do the right thing by helping a stray out. I didn’t want my dog to get sick. He was very friendly, but had no collar. He didn’t seem old by his teeth. They were all there, but the back ones were slightly yellow so I’m assuming he was 2-4 years old. He also had an under bite and crooked front teeth. I think he was a Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix.

  • Lili

    I have 7 dogs. One of them came down with parvo. I didn’t know what the symptoms of parvo were since I had never heard of it. When I realized he wasn’t eating I passed it off as nothing too bad. On the second day, he started throwing up and it was then that I knew there was something wrong. I took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with parvo. He stayed one night but I didn’t have the money to keep him any longer so we brought him home the next day. The vet gave us some pills to give him. In addition to the antibiotics, I gave my dog some Pepto Bismol (doctor told me to) and some Pedialyte in his water. It’s been 4 days now and he is now eating by himself (I’m giving him baby food) and he is drinking by himself. He is walking around and wagging his tail as well. I’m going to continue my routine for the next 2 weeks. My other concern is that 2 of my other dogs are not eating now.

    • Michelle Schenker

      Hi Lili,
      Glad to hear your pup is feeling better. However, please remember that parvo is highly contagious. So it is important to separate any sick dogs fro your well dogs until they are all fully recovered. And the one that is getting better should be quarantined for 14 days from the other dogs, even if it seems to be doing better. Keep us posted.

  • lee

    If the dog has had the first shot and you notice it starting to be lethargic at the same time. Does anyones know: what’s the survival percentage of the dog should I take the dog to vet?

  • barbara robbins

    I just got a terrier mix pup. He’s 2 months old. I’ve had him for 2 weeks. The last days he’s been eat dirt and licking concrete. He’s laying around – not hyper like he was when we got him. He does not like dry dog food, which I don’t blame him, it stinks. My husband gave him a piece of lunch meat this morning and he ate that but his tummy looks bloated. Could it be lunch meat? Any advice would be welcomed.

    • Michelle Schenker

      Hi Barbara,
      He may just have a bug but it never hurts to call the place where you got him (shelter perhaps), to see if they have any tips. Calling the vet is always a good option too. You can call before you go in to get advice.
      I would suggest you stop feeding him lunch meat though because the nitrates and sodium levels are too high for dogs. These additives help preserve the meat but may be causing bloat and other stomach discomfort for your pup. If your dog is not feeling better in two days, please contact someone who can provide expert advice.
      Keep us posted and sending lots of love.

  • I love my dog

    My six month Lab was diagnosed just last Thursday with parvo. I had to pick him up and carry him everywhere he went. That morning when I checked on him I thought he was dead. 4 days later it is as if he has made a full recovery, almost. He is doing much better and has started eating. He had been drinking non-stop during his hard times (I don’t blame him).

    • Michelle Schenker

      This is wonderful news. Did you do anything to treat him? Perhaps some tips that you could share with other readers? Thanks and hope your pup stays on the recovery path.

  • Allana Dutchak

    My dog survived parvo last year. Last night she gave birth to 10 beautiful puppies. She’s been showing signs again but I’ve just attributed it to pregnancy (this is my first time with dog pregnancy). Is it possible that she’s been a carrier this whole time and it just came back with lowered immune system because of having pups? She’s also an outdoor dog.

  • tim

    I recently lost my Bella to this horrible disease. She was to go to the vet with her sister to get spayed and vaccinated but was running a fever and vomiting a little the night before. I took her to vet the next morning, he examined her and decided since she was ill not to do surgery on her and gave me some pills for the vomiting. I returned home with her and gave her the medication which she threw up, she would not eat or drink. When I picked up her sister at the vet I told him she could not keep the pills down and was still vomiting so he gave me an injection to give her. When I got home I gave her the injection and within a little while she had stopped. I went to work that afternoon and when I got home that night she had been vomiting and had bloody diarrhea in her crate. She was very weak and I suspected parvo almost immediately. I tried to give her water with a syringe but she didn’t want to swallow it. Within a couple of hours she was so week she could not even lift her head when she would vomit and I had to help. I called the only 24 emergency vet hospital which was 45 min away and I took her in. When I got there I was told she tested positive for parvo and that it would cost $1600 for 24hrs of care and could take a week or more and there was no guarantee she would survive. I was also told that she was so far gone that euthanasia was my best option. It killed me to have to make that decision but I was watching my baby suffer. She was so weak and was having trouble breathing because she had apparently aspirated some vomit into her lungs. I held her and told her how sorry I was and how much I loved her and that it killed me to have to let her go this way. Before they could do the injection she took her last breath. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I delivered her when she was born and watched her take her first breath and had to watch her take her last a few months later. I called my vet to tell him what had happened and he felt so bad at missing the possibility that he did her cremation for free. This disease is fast, horrific and I would urge everyone to get their pet vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent it.

  • Ashley Canty

    I just got this puppy and it won’t eat, drink, poop or pee. It has no energy. Sometimes it tries but mostly sits and lays around looking so sad. What could it be? She does have round worms.

    • Michelle Schenker

      Hi Ashley,
      Sorry to hear about your puppy. Where did you get the puppy? We would advise that you call the place where you got it to see if they have any information that could be helpful. And, as always, we recommend that you call your vet for advice on next steps. They are trained to help in these times of need. Keep us posted.

  • Janet

    We adopted two Lab puppies at 8 weeks old. One for myself and one for my daughter’s family. She is a military family and would be home for a month before going to a new military base. So I kept her puppy here until she could pick him up. Three days after we brought the puppies here they had vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. I took them to the vet and she diagnosed parvo and started treatment. By Sunday my daughter’s pup started having bloody diarrhea. I took him to the emergency vet hospital where he spent 4 days and had to go back for an additional 2 days because he developed an ulcer and still wouldn’t eat and had diarrhea. He weighed 8 pounds. My pup the next morning was also admitted to the vet hospital where he stayed 2 days. He developed upper respiratory infection but is OK. He weighed 9 pounds.

    Today, they are both almost 5 months old. My daughters puppy weighs 25+ pounds and mine weighs 33+ . They both have soft stools from time to time and have to wait longer to get neutered but they survived. Parvo is horrible but it can be survived.

  • jamie

    If a dog does not eat, drink and just lays around, does this mean it has parvo? What if he does not pee or poop?

    • Ely

      My dog is doing this now

  • Brandy Bennett

    My son’s 8 month lab passed away 6 days ago from Parvo and was at my house before we knew he was sick. I have 4 dogs and now my 5 year old American Bulldog Mix is acting funny. He won’t eat and just vomited a small amount. I’m terrified. We started him on metrodiazinole and getting Lomotil to start him on tomorrow. I was going to give him fluids but decided to wait until tomorrow just in case I’m overreacting. Any precautions anyone would suggest? Advice is welcome.

  • Michelle Schenker

    Hi Nilda,
    I am sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you. Unfortunately, I am not familiar enough to offer much advice in this matter. I would suggest that you speak with your vet about your concerns and go from there. Best wishes to you and your daughter during this difficult time, Michelle

  • Kayla

    Hello, my 12 week old puppy had his first shot three weeks ago. He is walking around and jumping on us and wagging his tail and playing with the other dogs. But he has been vomiting. His poop is normal but I don’t have the money for the vets around here as they want a huge deposit. What can I do?

    • Valora Lee-Garrett

      Is he vomiting a clear kind of foamy vomit? It could take a day for diarrhea to start. We had 2 pitt bull puppies contract parvo 8 days after their first shots. We went to the animal hospital. They wanted $1000-1200 each to keep them for iv fluids and meds but we could not afford it. They did get sub q fluids and and antibiotic shot and meds for nausea and sent home with amoxicillin, reglan and lactated ringers for sub q fluids. I found pepto bismal worked better than the reglan… keeping them hydrated is crucial and also making sure they don’t get depleted of protein as well…So chicken broth works great, by syringe if they wont drink it. I was up day and night treating them for over a week. We lost Dean, but Kiara is still with us today and doing great. You can get the fluids and antibiotics from Tractor Supply or other feed stores and the fluids as well. Given sub q …you can also use activated charcoal. You can get it at walmart where the fish supplies are. Grind it fine using a food processor or blender and mix with pedialyte and give thru syringe if they won’t drink it. It helps to neutralize the virus.

  • michele

    hello. my 2 year old dog has had a upset stomach for like 2 weeks and my vet told me to feed her rice so I have been but it seems to not be working. so tonight i went to walmart and i got her 100% pure pumpkin they said that would firm there poop. so should i see if this works? i don’t have money to take her to the vet but i got her a parvo shot today would it hurt her to give to her if she is sick?? Please someone write me back on this please my email is [email protected] and i have gave her pepto too but that don’t seem to work. so please someone let me know what i should do about my dog and my other dog has the same thing as my 2 YEAR OLD dog does what could this be??

  • courtney

    See my dog. I dont know what’s wrong with him and he doesn’t want to eat. But when he does, he pukes and when he stands, he falls. He is very sick and I am worried.

    • Michelle Schenker

      Hi Courtney,
      This sounds like you should give your vet a call and consider a visit. The vet is always the best local solution in times of great concern for our pets. Hope he is feeling better soon.

  • silvia

    I took my Chihuahua tonight to the emergency vet and they took a parvo test and it came out positive so the Dr. gave him fluids, and stuff to keep his vomiting down and an antibiotic. We started to drive home and unfortunately he didn’t make it. We had left the vet 10 minutes prior to him passing. I just want to know if I am still supposed to be charged for the vaccinations since he passed right after.
    Need to know what to do.

    • Michelle Schenker

      I am so sorry to hear of this sad news. We would suggest that you talk to your vet about the situation. They may be understanding. If you run into any concerns, we suggest you seek legal advice.

  • charlie

    My new puppy who is two months old just started showing signs of Parvovirus yesterday. I took her to the vet and they said that she would have to under go treatment but there is a 50/ 50 chance that the treatment will work.

  • Stacey

    My Malamute is 7 months old and showing signs of parvo. She’s in the vets for tonight and they are gonna do x-rays in the morning. She’s won’t eat her food, doesn’t want to play or walk and does not want to be anywhere near my others dogs. I’m praying she’s just got a cold or an upset stomach .

  • Felix

    So I was reading the comments and even his family says that the puppy has Parvo. Apparently he didn't want to get off my boyfriend's lap and he didn't eat or drink is what I was told. They took him to the vet a few hours ago this morning. They gave him Pedialyte and they said he was vomiting and had diarrhea. He's a few months old. They JUST adopted him from Petsmart, he had a sister that was already adopted by someone else, so do you think that the other dogs might have given the disease to him? I'm really worried about the puppy. Is it okay to bleach everything? Or will that make it worse? PLEASE HELP.

  • Lelanie

    My 8 month old Jack Russell was diagnosed with Parvo on Friday it's now Tuesday where he spend two night with the vet with IV fluids, vet said he can go home but he needs to keep the food down, he is not eating by himself I have to feed him with a syringe, is this good or do I need to take him back?

    • Sara

      Hi Lelanie, while it's likely ok that you're still feeding him (as long as he's keeping the food down) we do recommend you contact your vet and ask if this is a normal for your pup's stage in recovery. They should be able to guide you from there.

      • lilnativebeauty

        My puppy is now suffering from parvo and the vet strictly said not to force feed him. He will eat on his own when his stomach is feeling better, as long as he is keeping hydrated. My vet sent me home with a bag of fluid and needles which I insert in a pic line in his arm every hour to make sure he is well hydrated. I would take him back to the vet.

    • anonymous

      As long as your dog is keeping the food down and is not spitting it back out once you put it in its mouth, it’s a good sign. The main reason why dogs/puppies die is from dehydration and shock from lack of fluids. The fact that even by forcing your dog to eat. it’s accepting the food you put in its mouth. This means that your dog has not given up. It’s just too weak to eat on its own.

  • Torie

    I have a year old Pittbull dog mix named Belle. She's generally very hyper! A week ago tomorrow I noticed how much weight she had lost. She wouldn't get off my couch because she had no energy at all. She refused to eat. She was drinking a little but she kept throwing it up. Finally on Monday we were able to get her into the vet. She was diagnosed with Parvo. 250 dollars later, we had her test, visit, overnight stay, fluids and medication paid for. The next morning Belle was feeling well enough to try and eat the vet as she put it lol. I got my girl out of her cage and after the vet finished with fluids I was told I could bring my baby home! With a good chance she'd make it. It is now Thursday and Belle is eating on her own as well as drinking and she's keeping it all down! My girl is getting back to her energetic self! So with a wonderful vet and treatment on time, I've got my baby on the road to recovery!

  • Issabel

    I had a pup, Alpha. He died from Parvo today. He was 11 weeks old. Had his injections up to date. Loved the little thing but now I have to make a choice. His sister doesn't have a home. I said I will take her but only when she is 17 weeks old, I cannot take another pup dying. I bleached the hose and garden. Will she get Parvo? Should I take her?

  • Nina S.

    I held my puppy in my arms and watched the life go out of his eyes and I held him and told him over and over again what a good doggie he was. Parvo is evil it is a demonic disease that takes the most innocent and to this day his death upsets me more than some human ones because of the truly evil nature of this disease. By the time your puppy has symptoms it's probably too late. Instead of trying to save him, at this point we should be thinking of not letting him suffer, it is excruciatingly painful when your digestive acids are eating through your body and your jaw locks up from the pain. Please prevent it and we won't have to worry about treating it or the pain they feel or the damage they will have to live with even if they survive. Most of all I am disgusted with the way vet's so willingly allow these poor puppies to die when the vaccine should be given for free to those who can not afford them. They should be readily available at every vet, everyday, and on any payment plan. If you truly loved animals how could you be ok with letting them die when you could save them but won't unless you get paid first! In emergencies it should be just like people the vets should have to care for animals that may die…with or without money!

    • Debbie Parker

      This is so true! Pet owners know they are our family as much as one of our kids. They have feelings and unconditional love. I am sorry for your loss. Bless you.

      • Kayla

        Where did you get all the supplies to do this? I need to start my puppy on something. He ate a little yesterday but none today.

    • Gary Paterno

      Obamacare for animals. Love it! Really! I wish every vet would read your post.

    • Robert Stark

      My puppy showed first signs of parvo exactly a week ago today, and he’s home with me now sleeping on my foot. He’s 8 weeks old this week. He was supposed to get his first round of vaccinations at 6 weeks old, but the vet found hookworms and said we should wait a week to vaccinate him. The next week the day before his vaccinations he started being lethargic and had no interest in food and I thought that this was weird, and later that night he started vomiting and having diarrhea. The next day he was diagnosed with parvo. He was immediately put on IV fluids and given oseltamivir (trade name: Tamiflu).

      Tamiflu works as a neuraminidase inhibitor. A parvo virion invades a healthy cell and reproduces rapidly within that cell and uses neuraminidase protein to escape the cell to infect other healthy cells. With Tamiflu inhibiting said protein they are contained within the cell and the infected cell is eliminated by white blood cells. It doesn’t cure parvo, but it slows the infection of healthy cells by parvo down considerably giving your pup’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the virus.

      Many vets either don’t know or refuse to prescribe Tamiflu, because those who know would rather make money off your pup. I was lucky to have a vet who cares deeply about animals and when I told her about Tamiflu being a possible treatment she didn’t hesitate to try it.
      Please remember this for future reference. If someone you know who has a parvo pup, tell them about Tamiflu. If given within 48 hours of first clinical symptoms, the survival rate is over 90%.

      • Michelle Schenker

        Wow Robert, what a great tip! Thank you for sharing with Nina and all of our readers. Take care!

      • ahansen

        Just for the record:
        My two five-week-old German Shepherd puppies came down with ELISA-diagnosed Parvo five days after I got them from the breeder. They were treated, simultaneously, at home with the standard protocol of SubQ saline drip, anti-nausea and antibiotic medications, warmth, rest, and quiet. One got Tamiflu in addition. I kept copious notes on their progress and both puppies survived, now healthy and (extremely) active at 4 months.

        The pup that got a five-day course of Tamiflu had acute symptoms for 11 days. The one that did not was back to (relative) normal in six days. Tamiflu dog is far more ADD/frantic/excitable than the non-Temiflu dog. The coat is less glossy/luxurious and the animal isn’t nearly as quick to learn/respond as the other. Of course there are contingent factors here, but I controlled for many of them. Care was consistent except for the Tamiflu.


        • Michelle Schenker

          Thanks for sharing your story and this important info. I am sure it will be helpful to many readers!

          • Lazaro

            My puppy has been laying down for 1 day like if it was dead. But I have been giving him water. He moves but my only concern is why is my puppy cold? Does anyone know?

      • ahansen

        Here is a relevant article from April 2014 suggesting Tamiflu is not only ineffective in treating viral infection, but can cause serious side effects:

      • Shannon Mcgath

        How much tamiflu?

    • T

      You don’t need to rely on a vet! You can purchase any booster vaccine for your dog and give it to them yourself. The only vaccine that HAS to be administered by a vet is the Rabies vaccine!!!! I give my dogs the parvo vaccine myself, my friends and neighbors, and my sister-in-law do the same thing. Get this… I just lost my 1 year old german shepherd/american bulldog to parvo!!! But this is where your knowledge lacks, just because a vaccine is administered doesn’t mean they won’t catch it. Just like with us, just because you get a flu or chicken pox vaccine doesn’t mean we wont catch it!!!! And to be honest… there’s no guarantee that a dog will pull through even with proper treatment. It all comes down to how strong their will power is!!! And you can treat a dog with parvo by yourself. It’s called research and knowledge of what you’re dealing/working with. So don’t blame everything on other people or corporations.

    • Marlene

      Oh my God, you sound like me. I just lost my 5 month old puppy to this demonic curse. Her brother came down with vomiting, took to vet the day my female was being spayed, never knowing he had the disease; they gave me meds for him; said too costly for IV and he would probably tear the IV out. Now, I ask, what kind of caring statement is that for a vet to say???? Where is the compassion? Or, do they really know deep down, chances are slim, or none at all? Gave me meds to give at home. In the meantime, picked the female up from surgery, immune system already depleted from surgery, never gave me meds just in case. Told me to isolate him from her for 4 to 7 days. Yeah right, did that and she still got it, washed everything down in the house with bleach when he came home; threw toys out, bleached bedding, floors, furniture, crates, and still I lost my baby girl. Horrific. I have to shed tears as I tell this story. It is so fresh in my mind. She laid lifeless on the couch with puppy pads under her broken and limp body, put her head in bowl of water I gently brought to her lips, then vomited the water out. That night, she crossed the rainbow bridge. I ache so much. The brother is not in the clear yet, a week since he came down with it, still dark stools, no diarrhea, just soft tar-like stools. So I am continuing with the female’s meds for a day or two. I read that the stools will still be this way for up to three weeks. Oh, by the way, my female had all of the vaccinations??? This is the worst, horrific disease I have ever heard of. A real killer, and a fast one. My prayers and heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and all of you who have lost our precious, furry friends. And you vets, why not give a vaccination after pup is born, or something to kill it immediately?!?!

      • Katherine

        My pup did get his first set, but the vet we went to said his next set was at 6 months old not 9 weeks like the new one said. He’s in the hospital now because of parvo that could have been prevented

        • Michelle Schenker

          Oh Katherine, That is terrible. We trust our vets to be the best source of information but it seems that sadly, we have to check behind them sometimes. I am so sorry to hear this and hope your pup is back in good health soon!

  • please help!

    My baby girl Gya (gee-yah) is five weeks old i think maybe six its unknown for sure because we adopted her. I've had her for a little over a week now she has her shots two days ago but ever since I got her she has been gagging. No fever the vet said she was a little low on her temp but no runny stool until about an hour ago. Maybe because I changed her food? But she is very sleepy isn't that normal due to her age?

  • Lab Lover

    We adopted a black Lab mix on Thursday. Straight to the vet. Kennel cough OK could deal with that. Three days later back to the vet she wouldn't eat drink and just wanted to lay around. $1000 later, yes it was Parvovirus, we got to bring her home. Three days later and another $200 pneumonia. She survived it all. This was two years ago she was a 5 lb ball of fluff. Today she is a happy healthy 70 lb baby. Our vet worked with us on the bill and kept it as low as she could. It was expensive but worth it. Before anyone asks yes, as soon as she was diagnosed we contacted the shelter and kept our other dog away from her.

  • Megan

    My puppy is almost eleven weeks old. She has not had any of her shots yet because everyone we have talked to about when to give her her shots said to wait until she is twelve weeks old, but the last couple of days she has been puking and had diarrhea and I've found blood that she has thrown up. She has a lot of energy and eats and drinks quite a bit and that hasn't changed, but very concerned about my baby. Any advice? 

  • rmiller

    My six-month-old pup is acting weird. In the last three days she went from being her normal bark-y self to barking for ten minutes straight at nothing. (I gave commands for this barking to stop but to no avail.) She started puking yesterday. My eight year old said he seen blood in her mouth. I passed it off as she lost a baby tooth, which I have seen first hand. That was the day before yesterday. Today she is very lethargic, vomiting and wont eat or drink. I'm scared poopless because she is not really peeing and hasn't pooped today. My husband has fallen ill and hasn't been able to work for awhile so all the extra money we have goes to his meds to keep him alive. I've tried to re-home my baby but her home fell through. My neighbor is a p.o.s. and may have poisoned her. I love my girl and would sell my right and left arm for her. Please some one help me. I'm scared one of my kids is gonna find her no longer with us. 

  • Gemma

    I had a puppy from a dog's home; she was 12 weeks old. Two days after having her we took her to the vet to be checked over and have her puppy needles. She had them then a day after she was being sick, could not stand up and had really bad diarrhea. I rang the vet and we took her down, next morning we had a phone call saying my dog was fine and they put it down to a reaction for the needles. The same night she just wasn't right, so I rang them and took her down again, then I had a phone call saying she has tested positive for Parvo. My puppy was in there for just over a week and I had a phone call saying she can come home. She is still very tired, had diarrhea with blood and just has no energy. Is it too soon for her to come home ?

  • Tammy

    I have two dogs, one is ten and the other, a year. The younger of the two has been vaccinated, the older hasn't. My cousin has a puppy that had Parvo less then six months ago and claims her dog is better. I told her not to bring the dog over as a precaution but she came over for a surprise visit and brought her pup anyway. Now my older dog has diarrhea a day after the puppy left. Is this a sign? Should I be worried or am I just being paranoid?

    • Westie Owner

      I think it is a bit TOO coincidental not to be concerned. I would give your vet a quick call to explain your situation and see what he/she recommends. Just noticed your comment was submitted five days ago. Has the diarrhea gone away? Hope your dog is well now!

  • Rowena

    I am majorly bummed.  My daughter's boyfriend found two puppies at a dump over the weekend. After consulting with the local SPCA they were told they could take one and the second was to be handed over to the shelter as it appeared to be ill.  

    They took the puppy, lovingly named Cosby, to their local vet and and had him de-wormed etc. Almost immediately, Cosby took ill, (diarrhea and vomiting.) Cosby remained sickly after passing what was an inordinate amount of worms and whatnot, so they took him back to the vet, and they de-wormed Cosby again — that's twice in the space of two days!!

    Cosby continued to deteriorate and despite the consults and telephonic help from YET ANOTHER VET and around-the-clock, 24-hour care, Cosby died on Tuesday…of Parvo.  

    After researching the disease, I am absolutely gobsmacked and livid: How does the SPCA and three different vets overlook the obvious (diarrhea and vomiting and rancid smell)? To add insult to injury, my two other dogs have been exposed!!

    What to do, what to do?  I have phoned two vets in my area and they each have their own take on what to do!! My dogs are both adults — one small breed, the other large. Do I stress? Do I take them to the vet to be checked, thus risking exposing other dogs to this disease? Do I watch and wait to see IF they get sick?  

    So many questions and who do I trust with answers!?

  • Hannah

    I have a lab, four months old, that is now suffering from Parvo today; it's his fifth day. I want my pup to come out; when he will be recover?


  • Lori H

    The puppy that we adopted at the beginning of June has parvo and he is not getting better.  He is 2-3 months old.  He had only received his first set of shots at the rescue shelter the day before we adopted him and his brother.  He has been at the vet since last Thursday and they have tried everything.  The diarrhea and vomiting stopped for almost two days but he never would eat or drink on his own.  Today the diarrhea and vomiting returned.  

    From reading other posts I assume that this is not normal.  I really do not want him to suffer anymore but do not want to give up on him too early.

    • Melissa

      I had purchased a puppy from a breeder that was flown from Texas to New Jersey on Saturday June 30. He was suffering from diarrhea but the breeder convinced me it was something he ate and when he finished his antibiotics he would be fine, however he was not. I took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and was put on Clavamox. Within 24 hours the dog was not eating, was lethargic, vomiting and having bloody diarrhea. I took him to a 24 hour animal emergency room where he was diagnosed with distemper and Parvo. We ended up losing him 24 hours later when he started to seize and we chose to put him to sleep to end his suffering July 4th. It was a horrific experience and to make matters worse it cost a fortune to treat him ($1,500) and the breeder would not give us our money for the dog or the vet bills! My family and I are devastated! I hope your dog does not meet the same fate :( It is a horrible virus that ravages their little bodies quickly. I never knew anything about the virus until I lost my puppy to it. Praying for you and your family!!


    • Marie

      I would take him back to the vet asap, if you can afford it. They will survive but some cases are very costly. We just picked ours up from the hospital today. He looks and eats good but we will see. Good luck!

  • Terri C.

    Someone dumped three puppies on my property three months ago. I live on 36 acres and have never had a dog with Parvo in the 14 years I have lived here. I have other healthy, vaccinated dogs and one of the puppies was diagnosed with Parvo four days ago. She will make it. She is eating boiled chicken and has had no diarrhea or vomiting for 36 hours. Still getting IV fluid and medication as a precaution for the next two days.  None of these dogs leave my property, and the puppies were kept mostly in a kennel and let out to exercise twice daily. I had no idea where the puppy could get Parvo, but my vet told me that it affects all canine species, including wolves and coyotes. It can also be brought onto your property via your shoes or tires of your vehicle if you come in contact with a contaminated surface. It can be spread by flies that land on infected feces and then land on your dog depositing the virus on their coat and ingested when they lick themselves. Lesson to all: Parvo is everywhere. The only thing you can do is vaccinate your animal. I delayed in vaccinating these puppies and am paying the price for it big time. I could have vaccinated them for a small amount of money versus the $1000 vet bill so far. I am just hoping her litter mate does not get it. These were puppies that were simply waiting for a new fur-ever home, but I cannot stand by and let any animal die that might be saved. I will never make this mistake again. The next time someone dumps a dog on me, and it happens all the time, I will be at my vets office that day if they are open. Learned my lesson the hard way.

  • peggy

    I've had Parvo at my house recently and I got a new dog and he got vaccinated yesterday. How long until I bring him home as I didn't want to bring him home until he was vaccinated against Parvo, and can he still get Parvo and what is his percentage of getting it at his age? Thank you.

  • christy

    I have a six month old pittbull and he all of a sudden got really sick he began throwing up and refused to eat or drink. I can't afford all the vet expenses that the vet in my area has given me for treatment. I have to make the decision to surrender my pet to the local animal pound so that he will no longer suffer. I think that he has Parvo even though he has had his vaccines.

    • Bella

      Pitts have a better chance of getting Parvo but if he has had all his shots it is unlikely.  Did you take him to the vet for a consult? Some vets will offer a free examination. You should call around. Also some shelters and state run facilities will do an exam for free if you reach out to them. If your dog is throwing up and has diarrhea, a quick at home remedy is Pedialite so he can get his fluid levels up. It is possible your dog has a virus but not Parvo so could be treated easily. If you do have him tested and he does come back positive, I will tell you from experience that it is essential you treat it immediately or he will continue to go downhill. Typically they have to be hospitalized and receive IV treatment which could be days of inpatient care. If treated right away, he could survive. I understand the financial burden and also the unknown of whether treatment would work depending on the stage of Parvo. Get him an exam…I reiterate, LOTS of places will give you a free one. Then you can know for sure and make a decision based on the outcome. Good luck. I truly wish you the best with your fur kid.

      • Alyssa

        Even if a dog is fully vaccinated against Parvo they can still get Parvo. My dog has had all his shots and his booster. He is now fighting the virus.  

        Would love to know where a vet is that offers a free exam. Not happening around here. Parvo can be treated at home. Vet treatment can run up to $2000 for a Parvo dog to stay under their care 24/7. But vets can give you what you need to treat at home and show you how to do the fluids.   

  • krystle b.

    Just 2 days ago my 8 month old pup didn't eat his dinner and I thought he just didn't like it as I gave him rice but usually has pasta with their meat. He was fine, wasn't sick or anything. I went out the back yesterday morning at approx 10am and he and my other dog (2 yrs of age) were perfectly normal. Then at 1:30 in the afternoon I went to go have playtime with them and there was my 8 month old pup almost dead. He was dull, could not move, had drool coming from his mouth, and was cold and I tried to open his mouth to wash the drool out thinking he got to a toad, but his mouth would not open. I took him to the vet straight away and he has Parvo. I then took my 2 yr old dog to get tested that same day and he is negative to it. Neither have had their vacs and I'm paying $1500 for treatment to get my pup back but no guarantee he will survive but I'm curious as to why my other dog is negative and will he catch Parvo? Within less then a couple hours my pup went from bouncing around like he normally does to near death :-(

  • Trina

    Well my mom's dog died last night and I don't know what from — he was fine up until yesterday afternoon, then he would not eat drink or move. He was spitting up and when went to the bathroom there was blood in it. I don't know what he got or where he got it from I just know he's gone.

  • Bryant

    My dog is fully vaccinated and still caught the virus is there any explanation for that, or how it could have infected him? He is 13 weeks and was due for his rabies shots on May 1st??


    • Kelly K.

      I work as a vet tech. The DR's in our clinic don't consider a puppy fully vaccinated until they have had a shot at or soon after 16 weeks of age. Any maternal antibodies that the pup has are usually gone somewhere between 8 and 16 weeks of age, but there is no way to tell exactly when that occurs, and it varies by dog. That is why we recommend  a series of three vaccinations, at 8, 12, and 16 weeks. I hope your pup is ok.


    My 10 month old puppy Lili has been sick since Monday. She started with vomiting. Tuesday morning so I took her to the vet. At this time, vomiting was her only symptom. The vet advised probably intestinal irritation. They gave her fluids, anti vomiting meds and sent her home with an oral antibiotic. She was still active and responsive. Started the antibiotic.

    She became lethargic, unresponsive and overall seemed to feel terrible. By Wednesday, she was better, running around, still not eating well, but snacking and still had diarrhea. This morning she is shivering and lethargic. The vet is not open yet and don't have an ER vet. I'm looking for anyone who has seen this before or knows what could be wrong with her. I'm scared for her. Please advise.

    • Tanis D.

      It sounds like Coccidia. The pup needs a medication called Albon. If you don't stop it now, it will be worse next time it restarts. It can severely dehydrate the pup and the outcome isn't always good.


  • dawn

    I have 3 pups right now. They are 16 weeks old. 2 male, 1 female. Unfortunately, one of the male's, named Hunter, got sick last Sunday. I know that pups can have this Parvovirus but I didn't know the symptoms then. On Monday, I took Hunter to the vet and the vet told us that he has acquired the virus. Scared, I immediately followed the vet's prescription to the have him hospitalized. They injected his antibiotic with his IV fluid. We did this for 5 days. Also, he didn’t eat for the whole duration of his hospitalization. I was already losing hope when yesterday he sipped some water and wiggled his tail when he saw me came near him. Now, he has just eaten his dinner and drank some more water. It’s our 6 days of being hospitalized at home and he's doing really well. Started playing again with his sister and brother as well as with his mom. I’m glad that we were able to detect the virus earlier before, it has taken its toll on him. I was just able to give them only one shot of the vaccine since it's very costly here at my place and I can’t afford it. But if I can definitely turn back time, I will have them complete their shots because it’s more expensive to have him hospitalized. That is, prevention is better than cure. Always. Happy I am, indeed.

    • Terri C.

      To Dawn: Did the other puppies get the virus? I am waiting to see if my other puppy gets the virus like her litter mate. I am hoping she doesn't, but would feel encouraged to know your other puppies didn't get it. Thanks.

  • IJM

    About 3-4 weeks ago my normally active crazy annoying 1 yr GS, stopped being herself. I didn't really think too much of it at first. She eats everything not nailed down. I thought perhaps she ate something bad. The next day she wouldn't eat anything, and she just stayed in her bed. By Sunday she wouldn't eat at all, but she kept drinking water and vomiting. I called and got her in early in the morning. (Monday). She had Parvo. $41 for the visit, $43 for the test, The vet wanted her to stay in for 3-5 days which would be thousands of dollars. I couldn't do it. I have a 4 month old baby. Since I'm a nurse I asked what they would do, I also agreed to leave her in for one day. They gave her IV fluids, and antibiotics. I picked her up and she was still a little down, but by the next day she was back to her crazy self again. So for $200 I got her back. Instead of $2000.

    My other dog who has been vaccinated began showing signs, but he's 7 years old. I know it may not work, but I have been nursing him back to health myself. I have stopped the vomiting, and diarrhea. He is now eating a bland diet. Rice and boiled chicken, but only about 5-10/mls at a time. He has been holding it down for 2 days, and appears to be getting better. I'm not trying to tell anyone that this works for sure, but it has been working for me. Boiled chicken breast, white rice, baby cereal. Antibiotics. Gatorade. Water. I did have to get the antibiotics from the vet she gave 200/mls. every 12 hours. If you can afford the vet that's great. I have a budget. It's pretty tight right now.  

  • Curious

    I was considering adopting a dog from a rescue shelter. I don't know how old she is, but she just had puppies. When reading reviews of this shelter, I came across quite a few saying that almost all of their puppies were sick with parvovirus. These reviews were from 2-3 years ago. Would the virus still be of concern now?

    Also, do adults get parvovirus? If so, do they have a greater chance of survival?

    Lastly, can humans catch the parvovirus?

    If anyone has any info on this, please reply.

    • J.A.

      The reviews about the rescue shelter having puppies with Parvo is from 2 to 3 yrs. ago. You likely will find that there was an outbreak in your area or the kennels became contaminated from a rescued dog that was sick. Talk to the manager of the shelter about what steps they took to de-contaminate all areas and their isolation policies. 

      Adult dogs can get Parvo but if they have had 3 vaccinations, may not get ill, or they may get a little bit sick briefly. If any dog gets the virus, even if he is not very ill, he or she can spread it everywhere she goes.

      No, humans do not get Parvo.


  • Love My Dogz

    My puppy suddenly became sick yesterday evening, throwing up and diarrhea, He drinks water and would not eat. I took him to the vet this evening and he has Parvo. He has had his shots. The vet said that he did not have a temp yet and that she did not think it was really bad yet but she could not guarantee anything. He was still walking and wagging his tail and even would get his toys. Do you all think this is a good sign that he does not have a temp yet? Do you think he can be cured? Did we catch it early enough? He is spending the night in the hospital with IV and meds. :( Praying for my puppy!

  • newton

    All my puppies get shaky and fall down to the point that they can't walk once they have laid down for awhile they are fine its as if they get so excited they get dizzy and fall down help. 

  • Anonymous

    I just rescued an 11 month old Great Dane that was treated for parvo at about three months old. I understand that he will be a carrier of the virus, but my question is will he infect my 15 month old Shar Pei that is current on all his shots and heartworm meds?

    • Canine Journal

      Actually, we have some good news for you from our veterinary consultant: Dogs that are treated for parvo and survive do not carry/harbor/shed the virus. Parvo is like chicken pox in that once you've had it there is little to no chance of ever having it again.

      In terms of parvo, these dogs should never have to worry if what you say in regards to vaccinations is correct.

      Thank you for your question and loyalty to our web community. Please share the good word.

  • chelsea

    3 weeks ago on Thursday, my 8 month old pup got really sick. Not eating or drinking. But she didn't have anything wrong with her poos. So the following Saturday I took her to my mums to ask her what shall I do because she's never had injections and my mother has the sister and neither have been injected. So my mum said take her to see the lady across the road because she works in a vets so she would no what's up with her. She had a look at her and said it's not parvo or anything like that, might just be an upset stomach(ate or drunk) anything that didn't agree with her stomach.

    A couple days go by and she started to drink water. Then the day after, eating her food then her sister fell ill with the exact same symptoms but didn't get any better. She lost loads of weight and poos weren't normal. Also blood and black in it. So my mum took her dog to the vets and she was put down with parvo. Is it my dog that's had the parvo, fought it off and passed it to her sister? What shall i do? I don't want to loose her as well.

    • Canine Journal

      While a vet assistant is a great start (your mum's neighbor), they cannot really know whether the dog has parvo or not without proper testing that should be performed at the vet. Please take you dog to the vet asap and get her tested to prevent further concerns.

  • Olivia

    I have a 12 wk old dachshund/shih tzu pup, and after doing a little research, I called the vet because she was vomiting and had bloody diarrhea. She stayed overnight for 2 nights, and fought it off with the help of an antibiotic from the vet. Although she didn't have a bowel movement until 5pm, my vet closed at 4 today. Her stool was more like diarrhea and it was black. I know she still has the virus in her, but is it normal for that? The vet told me her bowels were fine when she was there. I'm supposed to give her an antibiotic twice a day for a week, then take her back in 3-4 weeks for a vaccine. I'm just afraid of how long she can possibly have the diarrhea considering she sleeps in my bed and I don't want her going when she has to where she wants (on my bed). I already changed the sheets once from the night right before taking her to the vet… Can anyone help?

  • Carmen

    Hi There, I saw my friend's puppy yesterday. She is between 5-7 months old and noticed she had lost a lot of weight (she was a good weight) and was lethargic. My friend said the puppy hadn't eaten for about 2 days. I did see her drink water. She said she tried to give the puppy food in the morning and when the puppy smelled the food she vomited. I could see the puppy was lethargic but she was walking around, but not bouncing around like she normally does.

    My friend contacted me at 6 am this morning to say she had been up since 2 am with the puppy vomiting and blood in its stool. We do have a lot of 24 hour emergency vets but she decided to wait for her vet which opened at 8 am. By this time the puppy couldn't stand up, lift its head and it was shaking (I was crying when I heard she was so ill. If it was me, I would have taken her to an emergency vet straight away and not even chanced it).

    When she got to the vet, they put her on a drip and said she will be there for about a  week. The vet said it's touch and go, she's very ill.

    My question is, if she had taken the puppy to the vet at 2 am when she had diarrhea with blood and vomiting rather than waiting 6 hours further, would this have increased the puppies chances? (I want to educate her as this is common sense to me) , especially since her message at 6 am said the puppy is busy dying!

    And my second question is, when the puppy comes home can she get the virus again? Or will she be immune?Will she be a carrier? (Just worried as I have looked after her on weekends and am very attached to her). Also before she comes home, will she need her vaccinations? I don't think she has been vaccinated and if she has it was only 1 from the lady that sold her the puppy at about 12-16 weeks (she was an older puppy when they got her).

    I appreciate any advice so that I can help educate her and do what is best for her. Thanks :)

    • manny ramirez

      Please take the message your friends sent you saying the puppy is busy dying and show the SPCA to let them take the puppy for neglect. She should have never been allowed to own a puppy or procreate herself.

      • Mira


  • Mnfriend

    I had a miniature dachshund puppy who was over a year old and unbeknownst to us had been exposed to parvo.  I took her to the vet as she was not acting right and my vet tested her and said it was parvo. But she wasn't dehydrated so we were told to give her fluids and she should be fine.  She was much worse the next day and I took her back to the vets where she did not make it.  My question is how long does parvo virus live in the house?  I don't want to bring a puppy in and have them exposed to it.   Does anyone know?

  • Salazar

    I just took my 12 week old pup to vet because after a visit on Saturday for his boosters and wormer he got sick. He started vomiting maybe 20 min after leaving the vet. I thought perhaps it was a reaction to the wormer. I watched him all day. Sunday the diarrhea started. Still thinking it was just an adverse reaction to the worm meds I got some pedialite and would give him some just to keep his fluids up.

    Today, Monday, I took him in just to make sure he was ok, PARVO! No fever, no blood in stools! Just some vomiting and diarrhea. He was still playing and even light snacking this whole time so NEVER would I have thought PARVO, especially with no fever. I had him treated ASAP. We're home now as our vet doesn't offer overnight care but I WILL be up giving him meds and fluid all night long.

    Just thought that people should know that a fever and bloody stool wasn't part of the picture. He had two shots prior to this last one and hopefully keeping him hydrated this whole time has helped. I love him so much. The most beautiful boy I've ever seen. He's up right now looking at me like "why are you crying?" God willing he will make it. 

    • Ashleigh

      Did he make it? After reading this I was left very concerned, and I hope for the best.

      I have heard if a pup survives parvo they won't be a carrier or ever get it again.

    • kain

      I also have a dog that was diagnosed with parvo, no bloody stool and no fever. Praying he makes a recovery. I left him at the vet. I believe they can do more than I can. He is only 3 months and he started reacting the day after his 2 month booster. I’m thinking he contracted it from the vet. This is so sad, I would do anything to have my dog back.

  • Jessica

    I'm concerned. I have a 6 month old pitbull mix and he hasn't had his vaccines yet. He will get them on February 9th. But my mother is coming to visit for a week and has 2 dogs that have been exposed to parvo but didn't get the virus. The reason they were exposed to parvo was because she had a 3rd puppy and he got parvo and he passed away but her other 2 didn't get the virus. But if my mom brings them will they be carrying the virus? I don't want my dog to get ill so I am looking up all the info before she brings them. Please get back to me.

    • Canine Journal

      We consulted an experienced veterinarian and here's his advice:

      "I would not expose the puppy to those dogs. They probably would not be carrying or transferring anything but why risk it? The six month old needs at least 3 vaccines against parvo before you can feel comfortable that his immunity is good enough to ward off an infection from exposure. Pitbulls are one of a handful of breeds that are especially susceptible to parvo. Long story short, if it were my dog, I would not take the chance."

  • donna

    The 6 week old pup we purchased from a breeder had a vet check 3 days prior to us taking from breeder.  The puppy died two days later.  Apparently one other puppy in the litter also had parvo (we did not know this – nor did the breeder).  

    We stopped payment on the check we used to pay for the puppy and don't want to get another one from this breeder.  The breeder does not want to give our money back.  He wants to give us another puppy.  We don't want one from this breeder.  Does anyone have any advice?

    • Liz

      Hi, I'm so sorry about your puppy, just wondered where you got it from… It wasn't Stockport, Manchester, was it?

    • C Harvey

      While I feel that on occasion even the most responsible breeders can sometimes have things creep in that we prefer didn't and are beyond our control, I have some strong opinions in your case.  First off, NO PUPPY should be leaving the breeder at 6 weeks of age!   For me that is a huge red flag.

      Second, if the well being of their pups were their primary concern they would happily refund your money rather than force a pup you no longer want upon you.  That is not only unfair to you but to the puppy as well.

      This does not sound like a responsible breeder to me at all.

      Very sorry you are in this situation and even sorrier that a puppy you thought you would have many years with lost its life so early. 

      Depending on what the original contract states will depend on your recourse for the situation.  Always read any contract carefully and fully and be sure you are ok with any of the terms should something unforeseen happen.

  • crystal

    My dog Zoey who is now 8 years old got parvo when I got her. We took her to get her shot and as soon as she got she shots, she started to act very sick and was throwing up. And then she had a stool with blood in it. I rushed her to the vet and sure enough she had parvo. So they kept her in the hospital putting lots of fluids through an iv. But the vet told me not to get my hopes up because parvo is so deadly . She said if she would stop throwing up within the first 24 to 48 hours it was a positive sign.  Gladly, on day 2 of her stay, as I was so scared that my daughters dog was going to die, the vet called me with wonderful news. That Zoey was going to live! They kept her for another 3 days and then she came home.

    The vet bill was $2,500 dollars. The hospital knocked the bill down to $1,200 because they could tell that I truly loved her. I want to thank the Cedar Bluff Animal Clinic in Knoxville, TN for saving Zoey's life! She would not be here if it wasn't for them.

    Oh and I also name her Zoey Miracle. LOL. Thanks for listening and I hope anyone that has a dog that suffers with parvo comes out as positive as mine! :-) God bless.

    • Gail

      Wow that is great news! Cedar Bluff Clinic is close to me. We took my aunt's ten-month-old poodle in this morning (she had only had her four days) after throwing up for three days. We thought it was because she had just gotten her shots a few days ago. She started having blood in her stool yesterday. This morning she was diagnosed with Parvo. 

  • valmd2006

    Hi. This is my first time to visit this website and I just want to thank you guys for your inputs on pups with parvo. We got our first shih tzu puppy 1 week ago (less than 6 weeks old) and, to cut the long story short, he showed signs of parvo 3 days ago, and died just a few hours ago… I was really crushed! :(

    Before having the puppy I knew little information about parvo, and so when he died I kept on thinking what did I do wrong, short of saying that I blamed myself for what happened (I'm still in the mourning phase). And then I went to this website… Your comments helped me understand parvo better and helped me accept the death of my poor puppy.

    Thank you so much. More power.

  • Sharon L Chambers

    My neighbor just brought home a 5 year old dog that came from a home that has a litter of puppies with parvo. This dog doesn't show any signs of parvo but can it be a carrier of the disease and you not know it?

    I have a seven month old puppy that is not sick so far. They have only had their dog for about 3 days but they do walk their dog in the area of the apartment complex that we live in. Can anyone advise whether my dog is in danger?

  • Anonymous

    I suppose that there are many people who do not know what the Parvovirus is. Even many dog owners may not have heard about this. This is a deadly virus which usually strikes your puppies. The problem here is that younger dogs have much weaker immune systems. This makes them more prone to actually catching the virus in the first place and then suffering dangerous effects from it, since they might not be able to fight it off on their own.

    After a dog has been exposed to the virus (which can be either through an infected mother or exposure to Parvo infected feces of other dogs), it will usually take between 5 and 10 days for symptoms to be seen. The main things an owner can look for are lethargy, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. If you see anything like this, take your little one to see the vet asap. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference in this disease.

    In many cases, treating a dog for this virus will involve a lot of medication and even hospitalization. Age is also a significant factor in survival.

  • Anonymous

    Parvo is one of the worst things that can happen to a dog. And when it comes to puppies, there is very little hope of survival. As an adult, it is hard enough to watch an animal you love suffer like that, but if you ever have to watch your child suffer from watching a puppy go through Parvo, it could turn you away from the idea of owning a dog at all. I went through this with my kids and it was just crushing to watch. It happened to fast that he died before we could even get him to the hospital.

    I know there are those who swear if you get your pup vaccinated it will never get Parvo. That simply is not true. Yes, you should get your pup vaccinated, but that does not mean it will never catch Parvo. Like babies, pups take a while to have a properly developed immune system and even with the Parvo shot, they can still end up with the virus.

    Keep this in mind when you want to take your pup somewhere. Wait until he or she is older before you take them visiting. It will give them a better chance at survival. It may even prevent your pup from transporting a virus you didn't know he had.

  • Anonymous

    Parvo is a dangerous virus that can be found in puppies and dogs. The author clearly illustrates reasons why this is a huge concern for younger puppies, since they have very immature immune systems and is also more susceptible to contracting this virus in the first place. This type of virus is extremely contagious and can be spread rapidly through a canine community through exposure to feces.

    The best way this virus can be prevented is through vaccinations. Ideally, the mother will already have been vaccinated. This should lead to a certain degree of immunity passed on to her puppies, which should likely keep them safe at the beginning of their lives (when they are most susceptible to contracting this type of virus). At the age of about 4 months, each puppy should receive a series of immunizations, which will include the parvo vaccine. This is actually a series of vaccinations that are given over a period of 3 or 4 weeks. This should help the puppy to build and develop their own immunity.

  • Anonymous

    So we have a vaccine that can protect potential breeding dogs? This sounds like great news! Especially when the other treatments and transfusions have a chance to fail or to leave your dog with serious problems. I'm not sure why such vaccines are not widely available and administered to dogs? Maybe it is because the vaccine is too expensive to give regularly, or because it must be administered constantly to have any effect? Or does it only work for the in utero type of parvo virus? Either way, the face that we can vaccinate against such a dangerous virus sounds like good news to me! Maybe in the future we will be able to develop treatments for all types of dogs that prevent the virus from taking hold.  I also really like the point about being so careful when you decontaminate your dog and any areas where it has been. Bleach will work, although your vet can probably recommend alternative treatments, too. The more information you learn and provide, the more you and your neighborhood can protect your pets.

  • Anonymous

    Recently I took my son to the pound to get a rescue dog. The small dog he picked out was mellow enough to suit my quiet nature. I thought we had found exactly what we were looking for. However not long after we got home the dog became very lethargic and eventually died. This happened within just a couple of days. I honestly had not even had a chance to make an appointment with the vet yet. Naturally, my son and I were very upset. When I called the pound to let them know, they acted like it wasn't a big deal. There would be no refund (because it paid for him to be neutered) but they could offer us a discount on a new dog. Hmm.. not sure we should even consider going this route – so sad and so angry!!

  • Anonymous

    The problem with parvo, and one reason it is such a serious issue among puppy owners and young dogs, is that it is very difficult to prevent entirely. Like many viruses, parvo occurs in waves throughout dog owner communities: It is easy to see why. Parvo thrives at dog parks, where it can stay in contaminated soil or be passed directly from dog to dog without owners every knowing. This can lead to very fast contamination and a series of deaths in a dog owner community. This means that one of the best things you can do to protect your dog is keep them contained if you hear about a potential parvo wave in your local area. Contact with other dogs or areas where other dogs have been is typically necessary, so if you keep to your own yard you can lower risks significantly. In utero parvo is, of course, a totally different case. Don't blame other dog owners for these outbreaks – symptoms like the article says, can show up days and days after exposure and may differ widely between dogs. Also, three weeks after treatment is a long time for most owners to wait.

  • Anonymous

    In my life I have had 2 pups die of parvo. Both of them were the first pets that had been on that land for years. I had no reason to suspect that there was a virus in the land. And after the pups died, I had to clean everything with bleach, including the yard. I did not want any other pups walking through the yard and getting sick on my account. It happens so quick that you don't even realize what's going on if you aren't really paying attention to their specific behavior changes. And sometimes if the pups are young enough, you don't know what their behavior is like without the virus so you just assume that's the way they are.

    It's the diarrhea and vomiting that finally clue you in. Once they start, they never stop until it's too late. And even if you vaccinate, pups younger than 6 month old very rarely ever survive the disease. Dogs older than 6 months usually survive it, but can still spread it.

    My advice is to thoroughly clean the area before bringing a new pup home to it. If you just moved there, bleach the area because you don't know who or what lived there before you did. It's the safest way.

  • Anonymous

    Watching a dog die from Parvo is a crushing experience. When we moved, I got my son a puppy from the Humane Society. It was a very mellow puppy and my son immediately fell in love with it. The pup followed him everywhere and would simply lay beside him all the time.

    We thought the pup was just mild mannered.

    When the pup got diarrhea, I thought it was because a friend of mine had fed our pup dog food. I know that pups often get diarrhea when you change their dog food. But this pup only went downhill from there.

    We woke up to find the pup barely breathing, and with diarrhea so bad that he didn't even try to move away from it. We could see the vet hospital down the road when the pup died in my son's arms. The poor little guy didn't have a chance. I informed the place where we got the dog, but they didn't seem too concerned.

    The bottom line is to be aware. Don't take your animals to visit outside the home unless you know they are healthy and the place you are going is a healthy environment.

  • Anonymous

    I give my dog a pill that he loves the taste of once a month and he does great! He thinks it is a treat – ha! I use Heartgard Chewables but there are several other options you can buy at online pet stores. It is well worth the money as it will save your dog's life!