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Parvovirus is a devastating canine disease that affects dogs across Australia. The highly contagious disease has led to the untimely deaths of many young dogs.
If one of your dogs has parvovirus, then it’s very easy for other nearby dogs to also contract the disease. However, parvovirus cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans.
With that in mind, we’re telling you everything you need to know about treating and protecting yourself from parvovirus in dogs.

How is Parvovirus Transmitted?

Your dog becomes infected by parvovirus after coming into contact with an infected dog or fluids from an infected dog.
Dogs with parvovirus do not always display symptoms: some dogs display no symptoms but can still transmit the disease.
Typically, the most common way parvovirus is spread is by a dog with a weakened, young, or unvaccinated immune system being exposed to the feces of an infected dog.
It’s important to remember that parvovirus is a surprisingly hardy virus. We’ve seen cases where it remains alive on a surface or on the ground for 8 or 9 months. Parvo can also be introduced to your home on your clothes or shoes.
In some cases, birds can introduce parvo to your dog by bringing the virus into your yard. So even if your dog never leaves its backyard, it may still develop an infection.

Which Dogs Are More Likely to Get Parvovirus?

Parvovirus is particularly common among rescue dogs. Many of these dogs have been in unhygienic situations with other dogs. When one of these dogs gets parvovirus, all of the other dogs may quickly become infected. It’s not uncommon to find an entire household of dogs that have parvovirus and need to be rescued.
If your dog is exposed to a parvovirus-infected dog, then that doesn’t necessarily mean your dog has become infected. Dogs with strong immune systems may be able to fight off the infection.
Meanwhile, dogs who are young, unvaccinated, or have compromised immune systems are more likely to become infected.

What Are the Symptoms of Parvovirus?

Do you think your dog has parvo? Common symptoms include all of the following:
-Loss of appetite
-High fever
-Depression, moodiness, or irritability
-Bloody diarrhea
Parvovirus primarily affects the lining of your dog’s digestive system, which makes it difficult for them to absorb nutrients from the foods they eat. Symptoms typically occur quite quickly.
Parvo can quickly lead to dehydration. If your dog is displaying the above symptoms, it’s important to get them to a vet as quickly as possible. Young dogs with dehydration can quickly experience system shock, which can lead to death.

Can Parvovirus Be Transmitted to Humans?

Canine parvovirus cannot be transmitted from dogs to humans (or from humans to dogs).
However, there is a version of parvovirus that humans can contract. That virus is not related to canine parvovirus.
Yes, parvovirus is highly contagious between dogs. But no, you don’t have to worry about getting parvovirus from your infected dog.

How Do Vets Treat Parvovirus?

Vets treat parvovirus by flushing fluids and antibiotics into the system of an infected dog. Although there’s no cure for parvovirus, vets typically treat the symptoms of the disease. They prevent dehydration by replenishing your dog with electrolytes, for example. Blood transfusions may be required to save your dog’s life.
Unfortunately, dogs only have a 50% chance of surviving parvovirus. If your dog has survived three days of treatment, then he is significantly more likely to make a full recovery.
If you believe your dog has parvovirus, contact a veterinarian immediately.