Dog Emergency Prevention

Parvo 101 for Puppy Owners

Veterinary Emergency Clinic is your local pet emergency answer when your regular vet isn’t available. Here on the blog, we hope to provide helpful information and tips to help you better understand our world, and aim to help prevent you from ever needing to come in! We hope that you never need to visit our emergency room, but if something happens you can trust that we will be here. Today on the blog we wanted to talk about a critical topic for puppy owners… PARVO. 

The Word No Pup Owner Wants to Hear 

Parvo in puppies is a common disease with deadly consequences. This is why it’s so important for owners of pups to be fully aware of what Parvo is, what the symptoms are, and its prevention. 

What is Parvo?

The canine parvovirus causes parvo in puppies. The virus is very contagious and spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object. Infected feces from another dog will expose your dog to the virus if your dog consumes, licks, or even sniffs the feces. A person who has recently been exposed to an infected dog could also indirectly infect your puppy, which would be a form of indirect contact. Another form of indirect contact could come from your puppy encountering a contaminated object such as a food or water bowl, leash, collar, or even the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs.

Once infected, Parvo is classified by the Merck Veterinary Manual as a disease of the stomach and small intestines, which is where the virus does the most damage. The virus prefers to infect the small intestine, where it disrupts the gut barrier, impairs absorption, and destroys cells. Parvo in puppies can also affect the bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues, which play a vital role in a dog’s immune system, and in some cases affect the heart.

Read More: Helpful Hints if Your Dog is Choking

Symptoms of Parvo in Puppies

Puppies infected with Parvo are very sick. The sooner you are able to catch the early signs of the virus in puppies, the sooner you can get your dog to the vet. Because parvo is very common in young puppies, you should always call the vet (or us) anytime your puppy is feeling under the weather, but be mindful of these specific symptoms of parvo in puppies:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Dehydration
  • Depression

Any of these symptoms should be considered serious and you should notify us immediately if your regular vet isn’t available. In the event that you suspect your puppy has parvo, be sure to notify the vet’s staff ahead of time of your suspicions and the puppy’s symptoms so they can take the appropriate precaution to quarantine and prevent further infection of other dogs. 

Parvo can be a fatal disease. The survival rate of dogs treated by a veterinarian for parvo is between 68 and 92 percent, and most puppies that survive the first 3 or 5 days make a complete recovery. Depending on the severity of the case, with proper care and early treatment, the recovery time should be around one week or so.

In the event you or someone you know thinks their puppy may have a sign of parvo, please don’t hesitate to reach out and call our office. We will walk you through the situation and gather information to understand what the best next step should be. We work with people from all over WNY to provide quick, compassionate, and caring action for pet emergencies. Stay tuned to the blog as well as our social media for more pet emergency tips and important info for pet safety!



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