Guidebook: Canine Parvovirus

Chapter 12: Client Information

  • CPV is highly infectious and causes diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, lethargy, weakness, and fever. The virus also attacks white blood cells, leaving the infected dog much more susceptible to other bacterial infections.
  • Diarrhea can be mild or severe, even fatal. Diarrhea in an otherwise bright, alert, eating, drinking dog is more likely due to diet change, stress, parasites, or dietary indiscretion, than to CPV.
  • The virus is very contagious and is spread by exposure to feces. Unfortunately, many dogs from shelters often have been exposed to CPV and should be observed for 14 days after adoption to be sure they are not incubating the virus.
  • There is some risk that a dog incubating CPV will infect other dogs. The new dog and their feces should be kept away from puppies and unvaccinated dogs for 2 weeks. Dogs that have had at least two vaccines, with the last one at least 2 weeks prior to exposure to an infected dog are fairly protected.
  • If you suspect your dog has CPV, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier the infection is diagnosed and treated with fluids, antibiotics, and nursing care, the more likely they are to do well.