What is it?
Parvovirus is a highly contagious is a viral disease of dogs.
 
Who is susceptible to it?
Dogs of any age, sex and breed.  The disease is usually more severe in young dogs (less than 6 months).
 
How does it spread?
Direct transmission occurs when an infected dog comes in contact with a healthy dog.  The virus is found in the dog’s stool, saliva and vomit.  In addition, the virus particles can be easily spread on shoes, clothing and other inanimate objects.  Fleas as well as humans can act as sources of infection.
 
Time line from exposure to signs?
Clinical signs can start as early as 2 to 7 days post exposure.
 
What are the symptoms?
There are two forms of the disease.  However, infection with Parvovirus does not automatically mean illness.  The degree of illness can range from very mild to unapparent to very severe often resulting indeath.
  1. Cardiac Form (less than 8 weeks of age)sudden death, crying, difficulty breathing, depression, weakness, poor appetite, and irregular heartbeat.
  2. Intestinal Form (any age, more severe in puppies) - Depression, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, low white blood cell count and diarrhea with or without blood.
 
Is there a test for it?
Yes, there are two different tests.
  1. Stool Snap test done in the hospital, results available in 10 minutes.
  2. Two blood samples are collected (the first collected while the animal is sick and the second collected 3 weeks later) and sent out to the laboratory.
 
How is it treated?
Treatment largely consists of supportive care and these patients are hospitalized.  In this case fluid therapy (IV) to maintain hydration and proper nutritional support are required.  Anti-vomiting injectable medications, antibiotics and antivirals may be used as needed.
 
Cleaning the environment?
The virus is resistant to extreme temperatures and is unharmed by detergents, alchohols and common disinfectants. Clorox diluted one part to 30 parts with water has been effective in disinfecting inanimate objects.
 
Is there a vaccine?
Yes.  The vaccine (Modified Live) is the “first P” in the DHPP vaccine.  The vaccine is given by injection and requires two doses 4 weeks apart with yearly boosters.  Puppies should receive a minimum of two doses after 12 weeks of age. 
 
Risk for humans?
Man is not known to be affected by Parvovirus.
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