What is Dog Parvo Virus?

Dog Parvo Virus, or Canine Parvovirus (CPV), as indicated by its name, is a viral disease that affects mainly puppies and adolescent dogs. However, please note, older dogs are not immune from catching the parvo virus. Dog Parvo is highly contagious, and can spread quickly to dogs without any protection.

In the most extreme cases, Canine Parvo can kill a dog in 2 to 3 days if no treatment is received. In most cases however, the death rate for dogs afflicted with parvo is around 10%.

The current strain of Canine Parvovirus (CPV2) was disocvered in 1978, and within 2 years had spread all over the world. This parvovirus is actually similar to the cat parvovirus, feline panleukopenia or feline distemper. It is also spread in almost the same way.

The Canine Parvo Virus affects dogs, wolves and also foxes. However, Canine Parvovirus cannot be spread to other animals, or indeed to humans.

There are two types of Canine Parvovirus - intestinal and cardiac.

Intestinal Parvo:

The most common of the Dog Parvo virus. Dogs are infected through oral contact with Canine Parvovirus in feces or soil which is infected with the virus. Once the dog has contacted the virus, it replicates in the lymphoid tissue in the throat followed by a move to the bloodstream. It then attacks cells in the intestines, lymph nodes and bone marro. The resulting effect on the dog can include fever, lethargy, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Cardiac Parvo:
Less common of the Dog Parvo virus, and affects mainly very young puppies, infected either in the womb, or within the first 8 weeks of life. The cardiac form of parvo damages the heart muscle, and can lead to breathing difficulties, and death.