Canine Parvovirus (CPV2) is a life-threatening virus that affects dogs. Dogs cannot infect humans with this virus. Puppies and adolescent dogs are particularly susceptible to CPV2. The virus is highly infectious and is transmitted via contact with an infected dog’s faeces. Unfortunately, the virus can stay active in the environment for up to a year so any dog could be infected.
Symptoms develop after 3-7 days of exposure and progress rapidly to shock and death if left untreated. Diagnosis is via a faecal or blood test.
- Lethargy (quiet, no energy)
- Diarrhoea – often with blood in it.
- Weight loss
If your puppy has any of these symptoms they should see a vet. Please be sure to tell the vet if your puppy has diarrhoea before arriving (particularly if there is blood present) so they can use necessary hygienic precautions.
Prognosis depends on how fast the diagnosis is made, how old the puppy is and how aggressive the treatment is. Patients are hospitalised for intensive management of electrolyte disturbances, dehydration, secondary infection and nutritional management. During this period your puppy will also need to be isolated to stop spread of the virus.
Canine Parvovirus can be prevented via vaccination and we recommend all dogs are vaccinated against this deadly disease. This is part of our core vaccine or “C3.” Puppies should get this vaccine from 6-8 weeks of age (before this they are protected by their mother’s immunity transferred in milk).
Our current adult vaccination protocol involves vaccinating dogs against Parvovirus every 3 years. Vaccine titres can be performed to determine the level of antibodies the dog is carrying against the virus. If they have high levels of antibodies it is considered safe to delay their booster vaccination until these levels drop so if you would prefer to reduce the amount of vaccines your pet receives this is an option. However considering the titre testing is expensive and doesn’t determine titres for all the diseases in the core vaccine most owners elect to continue the triannual vaccination schedule as recommended.