Canine parvovirus (CPV or commonly referred to as “parvo”) is one of the most serious viruses that dogs can get. Thankfully, it is very preventable with proper vaccination.

This virus was discovered in 1967 and has rapidly become a serious threat to canine health. This is primarily due to the fact that the virus is hard to kill, can live for a long time in the environment, and is shed in large quantities by infected dogs.

It primarily affects the rapidly dividing cells of the body, meaning that the intestinal tract and bone marrow are the worst affected.

Although parvovirus is most common in puppies and adolescent dogs, it can affect adult or senior dogs, especially if they are unvaccinated.

Parvovirus is an incredibly contagious disease that spreads quickly and efficiently. So how exactly does it spread?

While canine parvovirus is not airborne, it can be found on many surfaces within the environment.

It is spread by contact with contaminated faeces, but you don’t have to see solid faeces for the virus to be present. It can live on the ground or on surfaces in kennels, on peoples’ hands, or on the clothing of people that have been contaminated. Dogs could also carry it on their fur or paws if they have come into contact with contaminated faecal material.

What are the signs of Parvo?

A dog infected with canine parvovirus will start to show symptoms within three to seven days of infection.

An infected puppy will often show lethargy as the first sign, and they may not want to eat. They will also often have a fever.

As the virus progresses, your dog will begin to suffer from severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Severely sick puppies may collapse and have a high heart rate


Recovery from parvovirus varies case by case. Full recovery may take quite a while depending on the severity of the disease and the damage it has done.

Dogs that can recover from infection are sick for five to 10 days after symptoms begin.

It is very important that puppies with parvovirus receive adequate nutrition so that their intestines can heal.

If you pick up on any symptoms, get to the vet immediately and have your pup tested