Canine parvovirus can be found in almost any environment, but not every dog who comes into contact with the virus becomes infected. Several factors come into play in infection, including the immune status of the dog and the number of viruses the dog is exposed to.
Studies have observed that if your Fido is not vaccinated, the chances of him getting parvovirus are very high, and the morbidity rate is 100%. The mortality rate of dogs with parvo is statistically 10% in adult dogs, and 91% in puppies (Appel et al.
Dogs that develop parvo will show symptoms three to 10 days after being exposed. Symptoms include: vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea (usually bloody) and fever.
Parvo can be found in almost any environment. It is transmitted when a susceptible dog comes in contact with the virus. This includes contact with the feces of an infected dog, or objects that contain the virus (shoes, clothes, bedding, bowls, grass, carpets, floors, etc).
The Spread of Canine Parvovirus 'Parvo'
The virus is spread through traces of feces from infected dogs. Asymptomatic dogs that are infected but aren't showing symptoms can spread Parvo, as well as dogs with symptoms, and those that have recently recovered from the condition.
Parvo may affect dogs of all ages, but is most common in unvaccinated dogs less than one year of age. Young puppies less than five months of age are usually the most severely affected, and the most difficult to treat. Any unvaccinated puppy that shows the symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea should be tested for CPV.
Parvo is a preventable disease, but even vaccinated dogs are not 100% protected from the virus. Vaccines for the parvovirus are recommended for all puppies and are usually given in a series of three shots when the pup is between 6-to-8 weeks old, again at 10-to-12 weeks, and at 14-to-16 weeks.
Parvovirus is found in any environment (lawns, homes, kennels, dog parks, etc.) and comes from infected dogs that excrete the virus in their vomit or feces. Puppies are more likely to get parvo because they are more likely investigate everything on the ground.
What are the first signs of parvo in a dog? Initial signs that your dog may have contracted parvo are running a fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and anorexia. These initial signs may progress and can result in vomiting and diarrhea within two days after showing their first symptom.
Vaccinations stimulate the immune system to make a response. In a disease that destroys the immune system, there is nothing left to fight the disease. This is how some dogs can become infected with Parvovirus, and it's not related to vaccine failure or lack of vaccine immunity although it may initially appear this way.
How does it spread? Parvovirus is highly contagious and can stay on surfaces and in environments for a long period of time—withstanding heat, cold and humidity. Dogs can contract the virus by interacting with infected dogs, or by coming into contact with contaminated faeces, surfaces or environments.
The incubation period for parvo is typically three to five days for most dogs; however, it is possible (though uncommon) that the incubation period could be up to 14 days (Greene, Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat). Dogs can begin to shed the virus as early as three to four days prior to showing clinical signs.
Parvo is so infectious that humans can spread it unknowingly to other dogs if they have recently come into contact with an infected pup, just by touching them. This means an innocent pat on the head could result in a life-threatening condition.
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk.
Can a dog get parvo twice? Once a dog has recovered from parvo, it is unlikely that they will contract the virus again. The immunity from the virus lasts for several years, protecting your dog from reinfection. It is theoretically possible for a dog to get parvo twice, but such chances are very slim.
“Parvovirus is the world's most common canine infectious disease,” Hung explained. “This is a viral infection that is well-known for its contagiousness and severe damage to the intestines, particularly among puppies.
Your puppy can always be susceptible to parvovirus, even after vaccination, however vaccination greatly reduces the risk of this disease.
Your puppy will vomit and have diarrhea if canine parvovirus is present in their system. Vomit may be clear or a yellow or brown color, and diarrhea will often contain blood and be a light yellow or mustard colored hue.
Can vaccinated dogs get parvo? Short answer: YES! Some may think once their dog is vaccinated they can't catch Parvo, but the virus has different strains and reinvents itself. So unfortunately, dogs definitely can still catch the parvovirus.
In the U.S., people tend to get infected with parvovirus B19 more often in late winter, spring, and early summer. Mini-outbreaks of parvovirus B19 infection occur about every 3 to 4 years. Since parvovirus B19 only infects humans, a person cannot get the virus from a dog or cat.
Certain breeds and types of dogs appear to have a higher risk of parvovirus infection or show more severe illness once infected. These include Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Bull Terrier breeds, and Alaskan sled dogs.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus that attacks your dog and can lead to lifelong heart problems. Although parvovirus can be contracted throughout the year, spring is the most common season for outbreaks.
“Dogs who have three to five encounters with the vaccine will typically develop the highest amount of antibodies to protect from infection,” Dr. Burch said. And while some fully-vaccinated dogs can still get parvo — remember, this is rare — the vaccine will usually keep your pup completely safe.
Extremely resilient, parvovirus can survive in the environment for up to nine years, including the ground and soil. It can also withstand most household cleaning products (bleach is an exception), heat, cold and humidity, all of which makes the spread of the virus is hard to control.