Parvo In Dogs: How To Diagnose, Treat And Prevent

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Dog with sick mask onCanine 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. Read on to learn more about this disease, the symptoms, how to treat and prevent it from spreading to others.

What Is Parvo? | Frequently Asked Questions | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention

Parvo At A Glance

Before we dig into the details, here are a few facts and things you should know:

  • Parvo was discovered in the 1970’s, and 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: 90 percent if left untreated, 5-20 percent if aggressively treated
  • 80 percent of adult dogs show no symptoms; puppies are most susceptible1
  • 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 Is Canine Parvovirus Type 2 Or Parvo?

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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 parvovirus, classified by the system of the body that is mainly affected: Cardiac Manifestation and Intestinal Manifestation. We’ll get into both in more detail below.

Cardiac Manifestation

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 parvovirus 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

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 infected soil and once an uninfected dog comes into 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Parvo 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 90%. When treated with more aggressive therapy, parvo mortality rates can drop to 20% to 5%, but not without lasting effects.

If parvo is successfully treated, the virus will eventually shed from their body and they can be vaccinated to prevent future infection. Most dogs that are treated should survive, if they are treated quickly.

When your dog has pet insurance and gets sick from illnesses like Parvo, some of your treatment costs could be covered, saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Watch this video we created to learn how pet insurance works and how it could save you a lot of money you didn’t budget for.

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

Unfortunately for puppies, they can become infected 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 underdeveloped 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.

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.)

What Are the Symptoms of Parvo?

Parvo 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 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.

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 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 of 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 into 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 can 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 to help fight potential 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. Dogs that are not yet fully vaccinated (3 shots) should be kept from public places where they may come in contact with the virus. We recommend that you not even walk your dog outside of your yard until it has had its second round of shots.

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 so strong that it can survive living in the soil for as long as a year. This is why it is crucial to completely decontaminate areas where an infected or successfully treated dog eliminates its waste.

Active parvo can be treated with a water/bleach solution (15:1 ratio). This solution will kill any active parvo and should be used in any dog elimination area. The generally advised period for decontaminating an area and bringing another dog into that area is six months. While grass and soil can be disinfected with a 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 its vaccinations before bringing it ino a home that has recently been exposed to parvo.

Notify Your Neighbors

Another important step that should be taken by anyone who has experienced parvo is informing neighbors, especially if they have dogs. Since parvo can be spread from dog to dog and be spread through feces and soil, neighbor dogs may have become infected simply by walking 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.

Remember: 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 to prevent and hopefully one day eliminate this devastating disease.

Is your dog showing signs of Parvo or has been treated for Parvo?

Sources: [1] Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine (4th ed.); Ettinger, Stephen J. and Feldman, Edward C. (1995).

Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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Jeff received his Bachelors in Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance from Malone University. He can't remember a time in his life without dogs, his family always had dogs growing up. Now with three children of his own, his dog Gary is essentially a fourth child and he enjoys seeing his kids love of dogs blossom. Jeff has actively researched dog related topics since 2012.

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Shelly
My name is Shelly. It was years ago that I had gotten a Rottweiler pup at 3 weeks of age ( due to mother abandoning her pups early ). At around 3 months old, she contracted Parvo, I speculate from a Pittbull pup she was introduced to. I didn’t know then what the symptoms were but I knew there was a problem when she started defacating bloody stool. She was taken to the vet and was there for 2 days. She was brought home and seemed to get better for a period of about a week. Then for the next week she got sick again. She was taken into the vet once again and the next day had passed away. We were told only a little bit about this volatile virus, but worst was not being told about the incubation period of the virus and what to do to prevent the virus from affecting another possible future pet.So with great regret, another pup ( a sibling ) was brought into the home. After choosing to give the pup to a friend because we couldn’t care for the pup due to its aggressive behavior, we were informed that the pup had been infected with the Parvo virus and had also passed away. Im very sad to say that I recently had a very much loved 7 month old Pittbull of mine, named Oakley, pass away from the very same virus!! I saw the warning signs of Parvo but unfortunately did not take him to the vet, but only because we recently gave him a flea and tick treatment ( Hertz UltraGuard Pro Flea and Tick Drops / comes in a package of three tubes bought at Wal-Mart ) and had left the remaining two tubes in the package on the table, which he got a hold of and injested the contents of one of the tubes so we called the poison control line and vet and were told what to do to help him get back to health. It wasn’t until he started vomiting clear frothy fluid and showing bloody stool after showing no signs of interest or appatite, that I knew what it was. Parvo. Even more disheartening was the fact that A.) We hadn’t taken him into the vet for his vaccines and B.) Didn’t go with our gut instinct and take Oakley into the vet when we noticed he wasn’t eating. In saying all this, my advice to anyone that has a dog that shows ANY signs of distress…….take them into the vet ASAP the moment you notice your beloved dog not acting like their normal self and even more important…..have them promptly and properly vaccinated so that you don’t have to grieve over the loss of your furry family member. It IS preventable. Take the proper precautions.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I am so sorry Shelly. Thank you for sharing your story with our community. My dog, Sally, recently stopped eating her food, which is very unlike her. She also had symmetrical hair loss and was a little lethargic in the mornings, not eager for breakfast. It worried my husband and me, so we decided to schedule an appointment with her vet. Fortunately, her bloodwork came back normal but I’m so glad we made that appointment to make sure she didn’t have an endocrine problem or some other health issue. Our story ended positively, but not everyone’s does. You give such good advice, seek veterinary care the moment you think something is wrong with your pup. You did exactly that, but parvo is such a terrible disease there are many dogs who don’t see the other side of the disease. You are in my thoughts. Thank you again for sharing with us all.
DAWN PLUMLEE
if a dog has parvo will they throw up blood and mucus?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
We haven’t heard of dogs with parvo throwing up blood and mucus, but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen. I bet you could call your vet and ask without having to schedule an appointment. Although you may want to schedule an appointment if your dog is throwing up blood since that can be a very serious issue.
Becki
Not good to read an article that states that if the dog lives and gets a vaccination it will prevent it from getting it again. Once a dog has had parvo it is immune for life. I didnt bother finishing the article.
Bethany Ann Wattier
Agreed. From what I’ve read, vaccinated puppies are more likely to die from parvo than unvaccinated puppies.
Sandy
Hi. I vaccinated my dog (parvigen) on wednesday and he was having diarrhea ( not bloody) but no loss of appetite nor signs of weakness or vomiting. Is the diarrhea a sign alone That my dog has parvo?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Since you were just at the vet, I suggest calling and mentioning it to them. They will be able to give you a better answer. Hopefully it is nothing major or concerning and just a fluke thing.
Cherry
Hi Im cherry my puppy name jungle all symptom of parvo I saw to her we both suffering I take care watching her and observe her everytime she poping I’m sad she cannot say I’m in painI hope she survive I just wait the morning and bring her in nearest veterinary .
She threw up and worms all in it but not his poop
My puppy got parvo i think
He got worms in his throw up
Joe
My puppy Kona has had loss of appitite vomiting and bloody stool. But now she is active eating drinking until today she started to vomit again but she will still eat is this a sign of the parvovirus?
ma lizette villones
hi, im ma. lizette villones from the Philippines, i jst wanna ask some advice, theres a pom-spitz puppy my cousin wants me to adopt, this puppy has jst been lately healed from Parvo-virus disease and was the only lone survivor out of her 5 siblings, im afraid that eventhough she has been declared healed by the vet, she might still be able to contaminate my other doggies at home, most especially the 2 newborn belgian malinois my son jst brought home. Pls reply a.s.a.p, i need some advise on what shud be my decision on this. Thank you so much, ur advises will be greatly appreciated..
newpitmommy
My 14 week old pittbull has had first set of shots at 6weeks old. We got her last week and now she has not ate anything and barley drinking water. She is sleeping all the time or laying around. Could this be a sign of Parvo even though she had her shots?
Roger
My puppy had her 3rd shot and still contracted it. The loss of appetite was the biggest sign for me. We haven’t seen any blood in his poop or vomit, but the loss of appetite was what gave it away for us.
BeNiceH
My one year, 3 month okd chi has been diagnosed on Saturday, after showing symptoms on Thursday and Friday. He has been on antibiotics, anti inflammatory and diarree medicine since. He showed great improvement on Saturday evening. He ate and drank by himself. But today was a hard day. Please keep him in your prayers as vet says he has a 50/50 chance and that it will be a rollercoaster ride till atleast 15 days have passed. He gets shots everyday. And I feed him fluids every half an hour around the clock.
Estela
My labrador who is 5 months old was just dx with parvo he is currently in the hospital with a 50/50 chance
Angela
Did she survive? My 5 months old pup is in the same situation right now…
Jennifer
Our 8 week old chihuahua puppy of one pound tested positive for Parvo and it spread to his siblings as well our other two older unvaccinated dogs. Our little chi Kit is fighting hard. The other puppies are doing well. Unfortunately, we didn’t know they had Parvo or we would not have re-homed them m. One of the puppies, named Benji didn’t make it. We are so heartbroken.

However, we caught it early enough so our baby spent the day at the vet’s office on IV fluid and a shot of antibiotic that will last ten days. He also received Cerenia under his skin to stop the vomiting. We were shown how to do the fluid therapy for home care as well as the injections. He also was diagnosed as hypoglycemic. So, we were told to offer him food every two hours. If he doesn’t eat his food then we have to give him Karo syrup to prevent his blood sugar from dropping too low. We have been given him around the clock care fora week now.

So far, the other puppies are responding very well to their treatment plan. However, the little one, who happens to be the runt isn’t bouncing back as quickly. He is still getting fluid therapy to fight dehydration. We backed down from four times a day to as needed. So far, he is at about 2-3 times a day. He is eating a little bit and drinking a little bit of water. He is still having some bouts of diarrhea but it is down from 12-15 times a time to 4-6 times a day. The last few times he has had a BM it has been solid and formed so I am relieved to see no diarrhea

The newest development is his swollen abdomen. I am very concerned about what is going on with his little body. I called the vet and they are going to review the pictures and video I sent and call me the the morning to discuss the next steps to take.

This whole horrible experience this past week has been exhausting, draining, emotional, and just downright hellacious. I am praying that my little Kit makes a full and complete recovery from this nasty bug.

So, after telling you my brief experience, I want to know if anyone can tell me tell what his swollen belly means. I hope he is not going septic, which I am terribly afraid of. One of my breeder friends told me I should get a liver shunt. I’ve inquired about the costs involved. It is a $4000 surgery to place a liver shunt. She told me that they do an ultrasound first, which is $360. I cannot afford this surgery. So, I want to know if any of you have ever experienced this with your dog?

Right now, it is a wait and see. We are on day 8 of treatment so I am optimistic everything will to a positive outcome, depending on what may be necessary.

Lori aguilera
Avoiding this by simply vaccinations
Chris
My Samoyed had his vaccines every year, he was thirteen, I strongly suspect he got it, complete lethargy, totally uncharacteristic behavior,all he wanted to do was hide away , not eating, no energy, I collected him from my ex partner, got him home ,he struggled to get out of the car, eventually got out went up the garden raised his tail and a jet of bloody dioreah shot out, he lay down and died a short time later, that , as I say was after being vaccinated every year.
Suz
I had a rescue lie to me to place five puppies in my home. Said husband was calling shelter for all the fosters wife had in house. It was parvo outbreak told later. I did everything possible to save those tiny pups. IV’s, shots for nausea and antibiotics. They all died over five days. They were only three weeks old. The rescue will not talk to me now as I insisted lady who fostered them be reported. These pups were not fed properly for their age and came from filth. She had 33 puppies and not sure how many dogs. This lady was hording dogs. No one can properly take care of that many dogs. Rescue will not report as will look bad on them placing these puppies and other dogs in her care. Now I cant foster for a year just to be safe. They were never in my yard and confined on potty pads yet my house is contaminated. I will not let my grandchildren come over as they have a new puppy. Now my dog pausing 9 years old does not feel well. She is current on all her shots. She is depressed as I am afraid to walk her if she could be a carrier. No one not even my vet will answer that question.
Layla Hall
There are disenfectants that you can use that kills parvo. There is even a laundry solution you can use. I run a rescue and sadly have seen parvo too much.Revival has a lot of great products you can buy for different applications. Now if they had been in your yard that is a whole other problem and yes yard would be contaminated for over a year if your yard has shady spots.
Cherryl
Hi.. im Cherryl from the Philippines. I own a 6 month old dachshund. He is sick right now. Tentative diagnosis is parvovirus. He is receiving IV fluids and the vet incorporate antiobiotic and anti vomiting med to his dextrose. I am really praying and hoping that my dog can survive this.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry, Cherryl. I hope your dog starts getting better soon and makes a full recovery!
Nicole Borsello
Hi Cherryl,my little chi is 3 months old and just had to take her to the vet this morning because she wasnt moving, eating or drinking normally. The vet said she was in a comatose state and went ahead and started an IV with fluids and dextrose. I came back an hour later to check on her and she had vomited twice and had diarrhea. Later I came back again because I didnt want to leave her at the vet overnight when theres nobody looking after the sick animals at night so they gave my chi another antibiotic shot and I went home with her. I’m facing a 50/50 chance with her. I’m giving her pedialight in a syringe and I can still see her open her eyes like in a vegetation state but no real big change. I just want to cry. All I can do is pray and keep an eye on her.
Chandra Hawthorne
Oh my goodness? How is your Chi now?
Chandra Hawthorne
How is your dachshund? Did he pull through?
Chrissy
Does anyone know if the dog is still contagious after recovery from parvovirus?
Kathy
My dogs have been exposed to Parvo. Will a vaccination help now?
Kayla Poll
Yes it will help but vaccinations don’t go into full effect until 14 days or so… watch for loss of appetite… that was my first sign with my dog when he got it. We did at home treatments and he survived! We’re on day 10!
Max
Hi Kayla, how did you get the at home treatments and what did it consist of? My chi was just diagnosed and I begrudgingly left him with vet tonight… would really love to follow up at home, thank you!
tracie
has it have the 3 set shots?
carol
Yes. The virus stays for about 4 weeks in the feces after diagnosis. My foster pups can’t go to the adoption fair until after this quarantined time. I will not be able to foster young unvaccinated pups for 6 months. It is very contagious.
Maricar
Chrissy I have heard and read that they are still contagious after recovery from parvo from 3 weeks to about a couple months. My vet told me to bleach all the areas wherever my pup would poop. She just had her treatment including oral antibiotics so far she has been active and eating well and drinking. My only question is that why is she still pooping with mucus and blood spots? Is that normal even after treatment?
Kayla Poll
She will continue to poop the glue like substance until its all out of her body. You will see it start to change toward day 10
Deanna
Up to 3 weeks,I believe.
Kay
I just adopted an 8 week old female lab. She has only eaten once since yesterday and vomited a short while later. It was thick chunky, like undigested. Her stool is like water and she refuses to eat. She’s also sleeping like crazy. My mom doesn’t believe she was given get first shots even though the sellers say they did. Should I go ahead and start her vaccinations or is a vet my only real option?
Michelle
I hope you got her to a vet and I pray she is well.
Pamela Baker
My sons 6month American pit bull had bloody stool couldn’t eat or hold and thing down vet said she had hook worms she was sick a total of 4days was took to vet given hook worm med then next after noon died my son was just devastated
Kay
Hi can a person transmit parvo virus to puppies if they walk outside and go in the area of young puppies
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Parvo can be transmitted through your clothes, towels, blankets, etc. It is commonly transferred through a dog’s feces and another dog could obtain parvo just by walking through grass that has been in contact with another dog who has parvo.
Kayla Poll
Kimberly is correct. PARVO is very extremely contagious. It can be transferred on your shoes and clothes. Bleach is the only thing found that will kill the virus.
Paul mckinney
My dog has been vaccienated against parvo. Just how effective is it. Going around in my area badly. She is due her boosters next month.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I suggest calling your vet and expressing your concerns. Your vet will be more knowledgable about the parvo cases in your area as well as the specifics on how effective the vaccine they administered to your dog is. You should be able to call and speak with your vet about these things without needing a visit or having to pay a fee.
Victoria
We just adopted a 6 month old blue heeler from the pound. She came home and within an hour started to vomit clear and mucus fluid. I called and got her into our vet the next morning where he did a Parvo test right away. She was positive. She was admitted to have I.V. and antibiotics he said 3-4 days. That was Friday. Monday Morning (yesterday) she came home and is back to her happy energetic self. Still on antibiotics 3 times daily. I have 4 other dogs, all different breeds and older. All have and are current on vacs. My vet said she is still contagious so I have to clean her bowels up and bleach. Even handling her can leave the virus on my cloths so im not to have contact with other dogs without cleaning myself off well. Waiting now to see if my other dogs are going to start to show signs. Hoping the vacs really work. It was my understanding that the mucus in the vomit was a big sign she has the virus. She wasn’t home long enough to see any other signs. I will post again and update if there is any changes. Glad I have an awesome Vet. Good luck to you out there dealing with this.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Wow, so glad she is responding well to the medication! Hope she continues to get better and that the rest of your pups stay healthy! Thank you for sharing with us, and please keep us posted. So many pet parents deal with this and sharing your experience could help save a dog’s life. THANK YOU!
Joseph
How much did the treatment cost?
Kayla Poll
We’re in Utah. My dog boss has parvo. He’s on day 10 with at home treatments and I’m positive he’s beat it. The in hospital treatment for him (pit bull) was 2,000 and in order for me to take medications home and treat him myself was 650.00 plus 35.00 I spent on pedialite. It’s definitely not cheap owning pets but it was worth it to save his life.
Joy
I agree. My 6 week old pit got parvo, luckily I knew the signs. I started shooting pepto and Pedialyte to him until Sat until the vet opened that Monday. It cost me $300 n they kept him for 4 days, but he pulled thur. I was able to give him his shot the next week.
April L Sambrano
I have 2 3 month old pups, there mom is a survivor of parvo. She was almost dead when I took her in. I paid 480 and treated her at home. To you that leave your pets at the vet, they need you. My love for my dog pulled her through it. Anyways my pup got parvo and I took her and the boy pup to the vet. They treated her cause she showed signs, but cause he didn’t they vaccinated him. Knowing he had the virus also. Now she is better and he is bad. It’s been 4 days he eats a little here and there drinking water. I been giving him Pepto and Pedialyte. But he still throwing up. Not to much. But I don’t have the money to take him in. I just lost his dad. And I can’t lose him to. Help Please
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry you and your dogs are facing this. We are not licensed vets and always recommend speaking to your vet about the appropriate care for your animal since they know you personally. We also encourage you to read through our comment section for ideas on how others helped their dogs with parvo. Please keep us updated on how your dog is and we wish you the best.
Victoria
My son saved his dog with a charcoal infusion that helped to neutralize the virus in the intestine. He purchased it from his vet but could not afford hospitalization. His dog survived. Maybe look into that. Hope it helps.
Kayla Poll
Hello April I’m sorry about your pup. He needs antobiotics and an anti nausea medication to prevent him from throwing up. It is expensive. Call the vet you just took the other dog too and since they have also seen the puppy they sometimes get donated medications that they can give you for the puppy! Good luck and keep him hydrated.
Kel
A family member wants to bring his dog while he is visiting for a few days. His dog is a German Shepherd that not quite a year, but she hadn’t Parvo as a pup. She was treated and thankfully survived but she was hospitalized. We now just got a golden retriever puppy and have an 11 year old beagle and i’m Very concerned that his dog can still infect our dogs. Not to mention our neighbors all have dogs too.
Shouldn’t I be concerned and ask him not to bring his dog?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
If you are still concerned that the GSD is contagious, I suggest contacting your vet and explaining the situation to him/her. Depending on how long ago the GSD had parvo will help the vet determine if she should be around other dogs.
Renea Garcia
My Chihuahua is almost a year old, she was born in January. She is not vomiting or having diarrhea yet. She was fine Friday night me and my boys take her with us where ever we go. We can’t stand leaving her alone and if she is not able to come to where we are going someone will stay home with her. I even pay a sitter for het because she does not like to be alone. She is the most happiest, loving dog. She is very energetic normally. Friday night we stopped by my aunts for about 15mins and she has 7 little dogs.
We held her most of the time we were there. By Saturday morning we started to notice she was just laying around and when we offered her food she would not take it. This is so out of character for her. She doed take naps a few time durings the day normally but she will come and sleep right next to who ever is home. She plays with her basket of toys usually just scatters them and she will follow whoever is picking one of them up. Thats how we get her to exercise because she does love and is pretty healthy if you know what I mean. She has not shown interest in her toys, she just looks sad she has her sleepy eyes and usually only looks like that when she is ready for her nap. She does not want to eat. She is trying ro bury her food though. She is not drinking water. I usually fill her bowl 3times daily. As a matter of fact I went and bought her a new bowl a bigger one for one of Christmas gifts Friday. She had not wanted to drink she did have a couple of ice chips though. I just had to try something and remembered she liked ice chips this past summer and sure enough she did eat them, but she wants nothing to do with her food, her treats we even went and purchased her favorite treats to see if that would do the trick. So the only thing I can think is Parvo but she has not thrown up or has diarrhea yet. Im so scared I feel so helpless. I am a single mom of 4 boys and just returned back to work on Mon the 19th because my eldest son was in the hospital sine Nov 28 so I am completely strapped for the cash to take her into the ER Vet. I will borrow the money if I have too she is our girl. Is there something I should be doing now? I gave her a little bit of infant tylenol because she feels very hot on her tummy? Can i give her Pedialyte. I will use a dropper to get it in her. I had to feed her that way for about 3weeks when we got her because she had no teeth and the owner of her mom threw her outside with her mom when she was only 3weeks old so we brought her home immediately because she would of froze to death after being thrown outside in Jan. Please help with suggestions im so scared for her. She is my only girl we will be devastated if we loss her it will late this evening before i can come up with the money to even have her seen. Its going to cost $400 to have her seen
. i just need to do something in the mean time for her until we get her seen. Thank you
Trinity Kendrick
Hey, I have a lab that’s about 11 months old, she contracted parvo about 2 weeks ago.. she showed absolutely NO signs other than not eating or being herself. She was very depressed and wouldn’t even give me kisses. ( She Loves kisses.) We brought her inside and made her drink.. We also gave her Pedialyte, and then ppepto. Which worked for 2 hours..Eventually throwing up.. and within 3 hours she all of a sudden pooped blood and having seizures… Which we began to think it was to late for her.. so we were going to put her down.. old fashioned way but my fiances dad called with this medicine, (BACTRACILLIN G) which we were supposed to inject her every 5 hours until she started eating again. Amd then twice a day after she began to eat on her own.. Within HOURS of her getting this shot she began drinking water and keeping it down.. within the next day she started eating a little and keeping it down. And here we are a week almost 2 weeks later she is back outside running around being my baby girl filled with love and KISSES. sometimes dogs do not show all signs until last minute!!!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
So happy to hear your pup is back to herself again.

To any of our readers considering Bactracillin G: Please consult your vet before administering medicine to your dog. Fortunately, Trinity’s dog had a great reaction to it, but this is not the case for all dogs. We are ecstatic to hear that her dog is doing great now, but please speak with your vet before trying this medicine.

Joan Perkins
I’m so glad to hear our baby is better. My baby pit bull is in the Vat’s now in quarantine. In one day the bill is $502. Don’t know where I’ll get it but I’ve got to leave her there. He’s a good Vet & I trust him. She was a rescue & my other rescue dog has heartworms. I have to begin her treatment when my Soc Sec check comes. People that dump their animals make me SICK. I made a cookbook a couple yrs ago & I”M going to try again to see if the bookstore will sell them. There’s got to be a way…
Lisa
Where are your facts? I do not see a single citation or reference? I lost my dog in February to parvo. She had all her vaccinations. She died three days after her first birthday. I took her to the vet, and because she had all her vaccinations he said it was the flu, and did not test her for it. I called him the next day and said was getting worse. He said it would take a day or two before she started getting better, and to wait it out. I insisted that something was seriously wrong, and ended up telling him, I am bringing her in period. when we arrived at the vets office she had bloody diarrhea. He thought she had chewed something and it obstructed her intestine. He didn’t see anything on the Xray, but was going to perform surgery. They sent us home, he called before we ever made it back to our house and said that she had parvo. He didn’t test her because she had all her shots and was right at a year old. I did not know anything about parvo. Now I’m trying to do as much research as possible, but I can not find statics or factual reports. With out sources how are we to surmise that you know what you are talking about, or that your percentages are based on any facts.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for pointing our our lack of sourcing in this article. I have gone back through and sourced where some of those stats can be found. Please let me know if you have any questions or other feedback.
Cybelle
My 5 month old puppy has been vomitting pure transparent liquid lately and not eating. It just started having diarrhea. She has had 2 out of 3 shots for parvovirus. She was not energetic all day yesterday, but today she has been running around normally. She is drinking just a bit of water, but not eating at all. Does she have parvovirus? ( Note: After her bath yesterday, she was outside for a couple of minutes)
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
If you think your dog has parvo you should take her to the vet immediately.