Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a contagious disease attacking cells that rapidly reproduce. It can occur at any age but is ordinarily seen in puppies around 6 to 20 weeks old. There are two types of CPV, intestinal and cardiac. Intestinal CPV is most common and is distinguished by diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, and weight loss. Cardiac CPV is usually only seen in very young puppies and attacks their heart muscles, typically resulting in death. Vaccination is extremely important and can help prevent Canine Parvovirus. Certain breeds, namely Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers, are particularly susceptible to infection so extra caution should be taken.
CPV can be contracted directly or indirectly. Most dogs obtain the virus via fecal-oral contact. Heavy concentrations of Canine Parvovirus are excreted in an infected dog’s stools, so if a healthy dog sniffs or licks contaminated feces, it can contract the disease. Even indirect contact with fecal matter on an owner’s shoes can bring the disease into an environment. The virus is extremely resilient and can live in soil for up to one year, and it is resistant to weather changes and most cleaning products. If you suspect CPV to be present in your home, bleach is the only household disinfectant known to kill the virus. Should you bleach any surface your pet comes into contact with, be sure they are not present and do not ingest the bleach. Also, cats cannot contract parvovirus, but they can be carriers for it. If you have a household with multiple pets, it is important to be sure that one isn’t infecting another.
Possible symptoms of Canine Parvovirus:
- Diarrhea (often containing blood)
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry mouth