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Published: Mar 01, 2012

Parvovirus, also known as canine parvovirus (CPV) or parvo is a very serious infection in dogs.  This virus causes severe illness and may be fatal to younger puppies who have not yet had their full complement of vaccinations to prevent the disease. Owners must learn the signs of parvovirus in dogs in order to get early medical care before the illness advances dramatically.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, the clinical signs of parvovirus can vary widely, but most commonly involve severe vomiting and diarrhea. The vomiting usually begins first, and may be accompanied by fever, lack of appetite and general lethargy in the animal. The diarrhea typically has a very strong smell and may contain mucus or blood.

CPV is most common in unvaccinated puppies or puppies who have not received their entire series of vaccinations, so dogs who have not been vaccinated for parvovirus should be taken to a veterinarian right away if they begin experiencing these signs.  Early intervention is key to a dog recovering from parvo. The virus cannot be killed outright, but its effects can be neutralized with the use of antibiotics, intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medications, and pain control drugs.