Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.

Parvovirus – Everything You Need To Know

Rachel Poli Author
Apr 4 ·

Dogs can get many viruses just like humans can. Parvovirus is one of many, but it’s a severe disease that can be hard to treat once it’s in your pup’s system. Here’s everything you need to know about Canine Parvovirus in puppies and adults dogs. 

What Is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus (also known as CPV) is a DNA virus that causes severe illness in dogs, most notably in puppies or unvaccinated dogs.

This disease divides the cells, primarily affecting the intestinal tract and bone marrow. It can also affect the heart, but this disease will destroy the cells and prevent them from repairing themselves.

Unfortunately, if not caught quickly enough, Parvovirus can be fatal, especially in puppies.

Are There Different Strains Of CPV?

Yes, there are. However, one is more series than the other. Also, there’s one vaccine that will combat both strains.

These strains are called CPV-2a and CPV-2b, with the latter being the more severe case.

There is also another strain called CPV-1 that’s found in diarrhea in puppies, but it’s not known to cause the disease.

What Causes This Disease?

CPV is often found in the feces of other dogs. Therefore, if your pup is susceptible to this disease and ingests infected poop, it could also become infected with CPV.

Canine Parvovirus is highly contagious and will shed within the dog’s feces before symptoms show up. It will remain in their feces for about 14 days after symptoms appear.

It can also be transmitted by the paws or hair on your dog’s feet. In addition, it can get onto your clothes or shoes, and you can carry it as well.


Other objects, such as toys that your dog may put in their mouth (especially after eating poop), can carry the disease. If they play with that toy with another dog, they pass the virus along to the other dog. 

When you bring home a puppy, it’s a good idea to have a Parvovirus solution on hand. That way, you can disinfect areas of your home to ensure that your puppy is protected. Then, when they’re of age, you can get them vaccinated. 

Which Dog Breeds Are Most Likely To Get Parvovirus?

CPV affects puppies and unvaccinated dogs the most. However, adult and senior dogs are prone to it as well. In addition, some dog breeds are most likely to get Parvovirus.

For example, these dog breeds are prone to the disease:

Can Humans Get Parvovirus?

Yes, humans can get this disease. However, it’s a different type from what dogs get. So, humans cannot get the infection from their dogs, and dogs cannot get it from humans.


However, humans can carry the disease if they, for example, step in dog poop while on a walk. If those feces are infected, and the human tracks it in the house, they could carry the disease to your dog.

Can Other Pets In The House Get Parvovirus?

Similar to humans, other animals have their version of this disease. So, for example, if you have a cat at home, they can get this infection.

However, it’s not the same infection as your dog. So, cats cannot give it to dogs, and dogs cannot give it to cats. The same goes for any other pets in your home, such as guinea pigs or rabbits. 

What Are The Symptoms Of CPV?

You’ll notice symptoms as soon as they happen because your pup will become very sick. For example, you’ll need to watch out for the following signs:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • High heart rate
  • Hypothermia

If you notice any of these symptoms, bring your dog to the emergency vet right away. 


How Do You Treat Canine Parvovirus?

Puppies will begin to shed the virus about four to five days after having it. Then, CPV may remain in their system for up to 14 days. 

Unfortunately, there’s no way to cure the disease once your dog gets it. But, as long as it’s caught early enough, the virus is treatable.

Also, you’ll want to keep your dog away from other dogs just in case. You don’t want your pup to pass it along to other dogs or even infect objects around your house.

CPV can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. So, one of the first things you’ll want to do if you believe your dog has CPV is to bring them to the vet.

The vet will be able to diagnose them by doing an in-clinic screen test. Then, they’ll prescribe antibiotics to your pup to ensure they stay hydrated and their electrolytes remain balanced. 

In addition, they may get a Fecal ELISA test, which requires a swab of your dog’s feces. Within ten minutes, you’ll know whether your dog has CPV or not. 

If it’s a severe case, your dog may need a plasma transfusion.

Is This Disease Preventable?

Canine Parvovirus is a severe disease that can affect all dogs but affects puppies and certain breeds the most. Luckily, it’s preventable, so you need have to see your pup go through it. So keep an eye on them when you’re out and about to ensure they don’t eat anything they weren’t supposed to.

Also, get the Parvovirus vaccination as soon as your pup can. That will be the best defense against the disease. 

Rachel Poli Author
Rachel is a stay-at-home pet mom, caring for her dog, cat, turtle, tortoise, and fish. She's a content writer in various niches but most notably in the pet field, educating pet parents on the health and wellbeing of their furry friends. When she's not writing, she's reading, playing video games, or organizing something.
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