What Is Parvovirus or 'Parvo'? How It Is Spread, The Symptoms and How to Prevent It

Parvovirus or 'Parvo' is one of the most serious of all diseases in dogs. All dog owners should have a good working knowledge of what it is, how it's caused, the symptoms and what steps can be taken to prevent the spread.

What is Parvovirus? 

“Parvo”, as it’s more commonly known is a very serious canine disease, and, sadly can lead to death if not treated in time.

The virus known as Canine Parvovirus Type 2 (CPV) attacks the gastrointestinal tracts and bone marrow, while also destroying the white blood cells, reducing the immunity and thus making them more susceptible to other infections.

It mostly occurs in pups between six and twenty weeks but can also affect older dogs, dogs with compromised immune systems and unvaccinated dogs.  

Even if your dog is fully vaccinated it's highly advised to avoid areas which may have been recently frequented by a dog with Parvo such as parks, daycare, grooming centres which may not have carried out a thorough disinfection or don’t check vaccination records. 

Once the dog is infected, the virus incubation usually ranges from three to seven days  before symptoms begin to show. 

Parvo can’t be transmitted to humans although a different strain, Parvovirus B19, is relatively common in children, causing what’s known as Fifth Disease, or “slapped cheek” syndrome.

While it's rare and unlikely the virus can be contagious between dogs to cats and vice versa. Cats, especially kittens or unvaccinated cats can contract Feline Panleukopenia Virus (FPV).  

How is Parvovirus spread and what are the symptoms? 

Parvo can be transmitted in one of two ways, the first is by direct contact through the nose and mouth with infected poop, which can occur when the dog sniffs or licks the poop, an infected dog or surface where the infected dog pooped. 

The second way of transmission can be through indirect contact. The virus can survive on clothing, equipment, on human skin, and in the environment.

Indirect transmission occurs  when a puppy comes into contact with a contaminated person, object, or environment. 

The parvovirus is a particularly resilient virus. It can survive indoors at room temperature for up to three months and is resistant to many commonly used cleaners and disinfectants. Outdoors, the parvovirus can survive for months, and even years, if protected from direct sunlight.

Shoes that have come into contact with infected faeces can also bring the virus into a dog’s environment, which is concerning since there is evidence that parvo can live in ground soil for up to one year.  

The most common symptoms for Parvovirus are: 

• Lethargy 

• Fever 

• Vomiting 

• Sudden weight loss 

• Weakness 

• Severe diarrhea with blood in the poop 

• Dehydration  

How to prevent Parvovirus? 

Parvo is a preventable disease, but even vaccinated dogs are not 100% protected from the virus.

The most important thing is to ensure timely vaccination of your pup and ensure that  the booster shots are administered timely. 

Personally, coming from the cleaning industry and being a dog father I make it a point to get my home mopped and cleaned with a pet friendly F10 SCXD disinfectant once every week.  

Household bleach, one part mixed with 30 parts of water is most effective in disinfecting against parvovirus. This can be applied to all surfaces and items that permit it including floors, bowls, bedding toys and any other items that are not at a risk of discolouration.

Please remember to keep concentrated bleach away from your pets as ingestion can be harmful to them too. 

Please DO NOT take your dog/pup to daycare/boarding/parks and any other crowded places till the time your dog has not received their full vaccinations and booster shots.

Understanding Parvo is the first step in fighting against it. 

Our partner Tanziif are a specialised cleaning company who provide pet friendly cleaning services.  They have a line of pet friendly chemicals which are used in their services and can also be purchased directly from them. They provide professional parvovirus disinfection services with a free consultation and the disinfection is done for both indoor and  outdoor spaces. 

Visit them at Tanziif.com, or contact 800 8269443 for a free consultation and save 30% with the Treats Card membership.