It’s a common disease for puppies and it is terrifying. If your puppy has gone through Parvo and survived it then you are likely wondering, ‘can a dog get Parvo twice?’. In today’s article we will address that question and go into a little information about Parvo for those who are not yet familiar with this deadly virus. This is something that every new puppy owner should be aware about, so we’ll talk about symptoms, treatments, and other aspects of the illness so that those of you who have never seen Parvo will recognize it if it comes and be prepared. Let’s talk about Parvo.
What is Parvo, anyways?
Parvo, or ‘canine parvovirus’ is classified as a highly contagious disease that affects your puppy’s small intestines and stomach. It can affect other areas as well, unfortunately, such as the lymphopoietic tissue, bone marrow, and even the heart, but in general it is most active in the small intestines where it affects the gut barrier, impedes absorption, and even destroys cells. Without proper treatment it can also be fatal so it is very important that you know and recognize the symptoms so that you may respond proactively if Parvo strikes.
What are the symptoms to watch for?
If your puppy has contracted Parvo there is going to be a definite change in behaviors. Your dog will seem sluggish, for one, as lethargy sets in. Diarrhea will likely occur and there may be blood in it. Your dog will vomit as well and the colors can range a bit, generally yellow, brown, or even clear. You will want to get them to the vet as soon as possible so that the symptoms may be managed. Other symptoms to watch for are:
- Weight loss
- Dehydration (constant drinking of water like they can’t get enough)
Even if it turns out that this is not Parvo, these are serious symptoms and you don’t want to wait around for them to clear up. Get your puppy to the vet immediately.
Can the Vet save my dog?
There is no cure for Parvo, however, your veterinarian can treat the symptoms so that your dog can gather the strength to pull through and survive the virus. Usually they will first run a blood test and look for antigens in your dog’s feces that indicate that it is indeed fighting off Parvo. At this point your dog is susceptible to bacterial infections and other possible complications and your vet will check for these and prescribe medicine for the individual symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, and such). The survival range is good if this gets addressed promptly, typically around 68 – 92%, and most puppies that get Parvo and make it through the first 3 -4 days are going to be okay. They’ll just need their medication, proper nutrition, and lots of love.
Are certain dogs more prone to Parvo?
Typically Parvo attacks puppies as they haven’t yet had their vaccinations and their immune systems are not in top-gear like adult dogs. Certain breeds, however, have more likelihood of Parvo infection than others. Examples include:
- Doberman Pinschers
- English Springer Spaniels
- German Shepherds
- American Staffordshire Terriers
How long is Parvo contagious?
While your dog will generally recover within the space of a week your dog may be contagious for up to 6 weeks, so keep your doggie isolated for awhile or you take the chance of infecting other dogs. You’ll want to clean or replace bedding, as it can live for months on many surfaces (even a year on soil!) and
“Even a human can transmit it by petting another dog”
may also be spread in this manner. Typically it can spread when a dog sniffs or licks a surface or even when they jump on something (due to fecal matter that can often end up on the paws). Even a human can transmit it by petting another dog after they have cleaned up vomit or feces from a dog which has Parvo. So, in a nutshell, clean the bedding and other areas which your dog has contact with. Consider making a quarantine area if you have other pets and remember that your dog shouldn’t be around other dogs for at least 6 weeks.
What can I do to prevent my dog from getting Parvo?
The biggest problem with Parvo is that it tends to get puppies who are too young for their vaccinations. To combat this you can try to keep them fairly ‘controlled’ or secluded for a space until they are old enough to be vaccinated but generally this is easier in theory than it is in practice. Your puppy can begin vaccinations as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age and this is going to be your best defense against Parvo, so don’t neglect that vaccination visit. Your furry friend is depending on you!
My dog has already had Parvo, can they get it twice?
The good news is that your dog SHOULD be immune from getting Parvo a second time. Think of it like chicken pox for us. Once you’ve gone through it, your immune system is going to recognize and kick the viral vermin out and the immunity is going to be good for years. Follow-up vaccinations can help to ensure this as your dog gets older so that you never have to worry about Parvo again!
Today we have discussed the finer points of Parvo. We’ve talked about how puppies are the most susceptible, stressed the importance of vaccinations, and talked a little about how Parvo is spread and how long your dog may be contagious. We know that you are worrying right now but just keep in mind that as long as you get your pup to a vet quickly then you can obtain medicine to address those symptoms and nurse your little one back to health. Parvo is common and while it can be fatal, it doesn’t have to be. Stay vigilant and the odds are your furry friend is going to be just fine!