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The Dangers of Parvovirus in Puppies & Dogs

Parvovirus is a potentially fatal & highly contagious viral infection which affects dogs. Parvovirus is particularly dangerous to puppies who are at a higher risk if not sufficiently vaccinated.

The symptoms of parvovirus start as a loss of appetite & progress to vomiting & diarrhoea, which often becomes bloody & foul smelling,

The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in the animal’s body, affecting the digestive tract and white blood cells (reducing the body’s ability to fight the virus and other infections). In puppies under 12 weeks of age parvovirus can also cause inflammation to the heart muscle (myocarditis) which may result in sudden death or lifelong cardiac problems.

Parvovirus is highly contagious and is transmitted through direct or indirect contact with the infected animal’s faeces. The disease can survive in the environment for many months and it is recommended to disinfect items such as water/food bowls, toys, bedding that the sickly animal was in contact with bleach.

It is of great importance to visit your veterinarian if any of these symptoms are found. The sooner the animal is diagnosed, the earlier treatment can be started. Unfortunately there is no cure available for parvovirus and patients are usually treated with antibiotics, intravenous fluids, and anti-nausea medication, plus other supportive care.

Even with the best veterinary care, many animals succumb to the disease. This is why it is so vitally important to insure your puppy is sufficiently vaccinated against from 6 weeks of age and receives his booster vaccinations up until 5 months of age.

When puppies begin to nurse they may receive temporary protection against a number of diseases, including parvovirus. If the mother has been vaccinated against parvovirus or recovered from the infections, the mother’s milk will contain protective antibodies. Protection from these antibodies may last a number of weeks or even months, however if not sufficiently vaccinated against parvo, older puppies and adult dogs can still contract the virus.

For more information on vaccinating your puppy or adult dog contact Orange Grove Vet on 0117281371 or email