Canine Parvovirus


What is It?

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is the most common infectious disorder of dogs in the United States.

Parvovirus is an extremely stable virus, able to withstand both hot and cold, and can survive for 5 months or more.

Inanimate objects, such as clothing, cage floors, food bowls, etc., can harbor the virus. And it can also be spread through insects and rodents.

Adults dogs exposed to parvovirus will show few, if any, symptoms. Puppies 6 months and under are the most susceptible. The most severe cases are seen in puppies 12 weeks and under.

Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers tend to be more susceptible than other breeds.


Symptoms of canine parvovirus can appear 7-14 days after exposure. Intestinal parvo, or enteritis, is the most common type of parvo. It can be spread through infected feces just 3 days after exposure, before symptoms are seen.

Symptoms include:

  • Dark or bloody feces
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Vomiting (often severe)

Acute forms of the disease can progress very rapidly with death occurring as early as two days after the onset.

Less commonly, the heart can become inflamed (myocarditis).


Fluid replacement is extremely important. Most likely, your vet will rehydrate your dog intravenously (IV) with a balanced electrolyte solution. In less severe cases, fluids may be given orally or subcutaneously under the skin.

This will replace fluids lost through diarrhea or vomiting. Antibiotics may be administered to control secondary bacterial infections.


CPV is the last "P" in DHLPP. Puppy shots include a vaccination for parvo.



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