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Published: Apr 25, 2012

Parvovirus in dogs is a deadly viral disease that can be fatal without proper treatment. However, if caught early, dogs do have a chance of surviving this severe infection.

Parvovirus is usually spread through the ingestion of feces from another dog. Thus, dogs that are frequently around other canines, such as those in kennels, dog daycare, dog shows or dog parks, are at a higher risk of exposure to parvovirus infection.  Once the clinical signs of parvovirus appear, owners must act quickly to save their dog. VCA Animal Hospitals reports the most common signs of the disease are vomiting and diarrhea.  Your veterinarian is likely to ask about your dog’s exposure to other dogs and perform a fecal test for parvovirus in order to give a diagnosis.  If caught early, most dogs will survive parvovirus infection, especially if aggressive treatment begins before a blood infection and dehydration occur.

Some breeds, such as Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers and English springer spaniels, are known to have higher rates of fatality caused by parvovirus, although the exact reason is unknown. Typically, dogs that do not respond to treatment after three or four days are less likely to survive.

The best treatment for parvovirus is prevention. Parvovirus inoculation should be included in the rounds of dog vaccinations your canine receives early in life. Typically, the shots are administered at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Some dogs with a high risk of exposure may even receive another parvovirus vaccination at 20 weeks.  Dogs are likely to require additional booster shots throughout their lifetime to be fully protected against this deadly virus.