Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious virus that mainly affects dogs. The virus is primarily transmitted through both direct (nose/mouth transmission) and indirect (clothing, equipment, etc.) contact with fecal matter. With an untreated mortality rate of 91%, and a treated mortality rate ranging from 68-92% most pet owners are unaware that such a virus even exists. So what do you need to know about CPV?
The good news is that CPV is preventable through a series of vaccinations that are usually administered 3 times at weeks 6-8, 10-12, and 14-16 weeks old. Dogs that receive proper vaccinations are also typically given a booster shot every 3 years. Vaccinated dogs are not 100% protected from contracting CPV, but it is unlikely. Dogs who are not properly vaccinated are at extreme risk for contracting CPV through socialization such as dog parks, behavioral classes, training classes, doggy daycares, and general public exposure.
There are many different symptoms for CPV with the most common being:
- Severe, bloody diarrhea
- Fever Vomiting
- Weight Loss
While these symptoms may not directly correlate with CPV, any/all of them require a call to your veterinarian as they may still be life-threatening.
Since CPV is highly contagious and deadly, a veterinarian will require your pet to be quarantined in order to keep other animals safe. During hospitalization, and depending on the severity of symptoms, your dog will typically be administered fluids, antibiotics, and nutrition to treat presenting symptoms, and also prevent secondary infections. Dogs who survive the first 3-4 days of hospitalization tend to make a full-recovery within a week. However, in the event that your pet does not survive, it will need to be cremated since the virus can live in ground soil up to several years where it can continue to be transmitted to other dogs.
In summary, CPV is a highly contagious and resilient virus that affects thousands of dogs each year. It is transmitted through direct and indirect contact with contaminated fecal matter, and may cause a wide range of symptoms. While Canine Parvovirus is treatable, your pet’s rate of survival after contraction is much higher if it has been properly vaccinated. If you are unsure whether or not your dog has received proper CPV vaccinations, please give your veterinarian a call, as it may make the difference between life and death not only for your own pet, but for the pets of others too.