Parvo is a scary disease, most commonly seen in puppies but it can affect adults. It can also be fatal if untreated but the good news is that it’s easy to spot and very much treatable. That said, it is extremely contagious, so If your dog has Parvo or if a neighborhood dog has Parvo you are likely wondering ‘ how long does Parvo stay in the ground’ or on other surfaces. In today’s article we will explain a bit about the disease, how it is transmitted, and how long it can survive on various surfaces so that you can make an effort to clean what you can and be aware of what to avoid. Let’s talk a little about Parvo.
What is Parvo?
Parvo is a viral disease which attacks your dog’s white blood cells and dividing cells, especially affecting the stomach lining of your dog. This is most likely going to manifest as a gastrointestinal attack, however, in rare cases Parvo can also affect the heart, which left untreated or not treated quickly enough can cause heart issues for the dog’s remaining lifespan. This is why it is important to know the symptoms as well as what you can do to clean up areas which your dog has been using to prevent the spread of Parvo. While there is no cure, your veterinarian can treat the symptoms and once your dog has made it through then they will have built up immunity to Parvo. Later vaccinations can further cement this and it is likely that your dog will never contract Parvo again.
What are the symptoms of the Parvovirus?
Parvo is deadly serious and if it takes the ‘gastrointestinal offense’ means of attack then you should start noticing the effects fairly quickly. It reduces ingested nutrients and can create a whole host of side effects in your dog as well. Clear, yellow, and brown vomiting is one of the first signs, as well as diarrhea which may contain blood. Your dog will likely develop a fever as well and a loss of appetite and weight loss will likely occur… this is a serious disease. As we’ve stated, it is highly contagious, so let’s talk about how it is spread.
How is it transmitted?
Parvo can be spread in a number of ways. If your dog is licking or sniffing at another dog, for instance. It can be spread if another dog investigates your dog’s droppings as well. If you have been cleaning an area after your dog it can also be transmitted in this way, as the virus can live on surfaces (including your skin) for long periods of time. That means that anything which your dog has touched is a potential means for the Parvo to spread. Proper cleanup and awareness of the disease are going to be the best approach with dealing with this disease. Your vet will have specialized instructions for you but we can give you a few tips as well so that you are prepared in advance.
How long does Parvo live outside of a host?
Parvo is quite hardy and can live for a prolonged period on a number of surface mediums. For instance, in your carpet or on clothing, Parvo can live for up to 6 months. On concrete or in soil it lives even longer, from 9 month up to a year. One part bleach mixed with 10 parts of water makes for an effective treatment for the soil, as it is strong enough to kill the Parvo virus and yet weak enough that it should not kill of the plants. Indoors for your carpet or for clothing you’ll want to take a different approach. There are disinfectants such as Tek-Trol which will work but for the best array of options we recommend that you check with your vet or do a search on Amazon for cleaning products designed specifically to kill the Parvovirus. You will want to be very thorough in cleaning up after your dog due to the robust nature of this virus, otherwise if one of your friends brings a dog to visit yours they can still get infected long after your dog has dealt with the virus on their own.
How long is my dog contagious?
While your dog should likely be able to beat the virus in about a week you are not out of the woods yet. Your dog can be contagious for up to 6 weeks, so you will want to keep them indoors as much as possible to limit contact with other dogs so as to avoid accidental infection. Clean their bedding and play areas as well, of course, to get rid of those pesky lingering Parvovirus pests as well just to be thorough.
What should I do to prevent Parvo?
As parvo tends to mostly affect puppies this is where things get a little difficult. The best answer is going to be getting your dog vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent Parvo from ever occurring. Your puppy can generally begin vaccinations as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age and it’s a good idea not to put this off.
“Their immune systems aren’t as formidable”
When your dog is just a pup their immune systems aren’t as formidable as they are going to be when your puppy gets older, so those first vet visits are extremely important. Beyond this, if your puppy is too young for vaccinations it is probably best to limit their contact with other dogs and watch where you take them when outside. Contact with another dogs infected fecal matter in a park, for instance, could end up giving your dog Parvo so you want to be really careful with your pup until they reach vaccination age.
Today we have discussed Parvo in regards to what is does, it’s symptoms, and what you can do to prevent it. If your dog has Parvo then don’t panic, while it is a nasty virus it is treatable, so just do what your vet tells you and everything will be just fine!