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Parvo in Dogs

Parvo in dogs is a very serious and highly contagious virus that can last up to 6 months in the household, and may affect your dog for a month and a half to three months. It is a horrible infection that is resistant to most disinfectants (except bleach), survives in freezing temperatures and can also survive in heat. Parvovirus can take up to 14 days to show any symptoms in your dog. Sometimes, by this time, it may be too late.

Parvo causes major diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration very quickly. Some other symptoms of Parvo include:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Feces has a strong odor
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • High fever
  • Pain and obvious discomfort

Most Parvo deaths occur between 48-72 hours of present symptoms. If you suspect your dog has contracted Parvo, it is imperative to take him to the veterinarian right away to begin treatment. Hospitalization can take up to five days, sometimes longer. If your dog passes 3 days of treatment, his chance of survival is high.

Treating Parvo In Dogs

The main cause of death with Parvo is dehydration because of excessive diarrhea and vomiting. If your dog contracts Parvo, he could also be susceptible to other viruses because of a weakened immune system, which could lead to serious illness. Prevention and immediate treatment are the most effective ways to treat dog Parvo.

Parvo Vaccinations

Vaccinations are given to puppies to help protect him from life threatening diseases and illnesses that they could potentially come in contact with throughout their life. Vaccinations are recommended for puppies starting at 6 weeks of age. Veterinarians usually recommend a yearly booster shot for Parvo, especially at 1 year of age.

Parvo vaccinations are usually given along with other prevention shots. Keep in mind that the vaccine may take up to 14 days to kick into your puppy’s system. During this time, keep your puppy away from any dog parks, boarding kennels, etc.

Dogs who have been vaccinated for Parvo still have a chance of contracting the virus, but the infection is usually not as severe and not as common as unvaccinated dogs and puppies.

Medical Treatment

If your dog is admitted to the hospital for treatment, there are a few different things the vets may do to help your dog. These include:

IV fluids:  A slow drip of IV fluids is given to help replenish hydration in the body. Once your dog is stabilized, fluids are given in higher doses and more often. Fluids are very important and will need to be continued when you take your dog home.

Antibiotics:  Antibiotics are also included in dog Parvo treatment options as they help to prevent septicemia, as well in aid in preventing other secondary bacterial infections through the small intestines.

Anti-nausea medications:  These are given to help further damage in the esophagus and stomach from vomiting, as well as help ease nausea in your dog.

Blood transfusion:  This is done in serious cases. Blood or plasma transfusions help to replenish the dog with proteins, antibodies and also help prevent anemia and secondary diseases.


Unfortunately, there is no anti-viral medication for this disease. The best Parvo treatment is to simply prevent it altogether. This means:

  • Vaccinating young puppies
  • Keeping infected dogs away from other dogs to prevent the spread of infection
  • Cleaning up your yard regularly
  • Keeping the home clean and sanitary
  • Keeping an eye out on your dog’s behavior
  • Do not take in strays when you have other dogs in the house without being checked by a vet first.
  • Keep up to date on vet check ups and vaccinations.

For more information about dog parvo, a list of possible causes, symptoms, home remedies and information about human parvo, visit

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