Dog Parvovirosis – Treatment and Care

Dog parvovirosis is an infectious disease manifested by vomiting, diarrhea, fever, general weakness and dehydration. The disease is caused by a virus from the Parvoviridae family. It is highly resistant to external conditions and most disinfectants and remains contagious in the environment for up to six months.

Most susceptible young dogs

This disease is spread worldwide. It spreads through the direct contact of the infected animal with the healthy but also indirectly because the virus is extremely resistant in the environment. Infected dogs excrete feces for up to three weeks after infection, sometimes longer. The environment contaminated by the feces of such animals is a source of contagion. Faecal virus excretion begins on the third to fourth day of infection, when the virus infects the intestinal cells.

Dogs are most susceptible to infection at an early age, from six to 16 weeks of age, and are infected by the oronasal route (by inhalation or ingestion of the virus). Adult dog infection can be asymptomatic. The onset of the disease is affected by the young age of the animal, stress (transport, sudden changes in food, environmental changes), concomitant infections with other bacterial and viral bowel diseases, invasions by intestinal parasites.

Symptoms of parvovirosis

From the moment of infection to the first symptoms, it can take 3 to 8 days. The disease begins with a general infection syndrome (fever, general weakness, etc.), vomiting and diarrhea, often bloody. Dehydration follows very quickly. The course of the disease can vary from sudden death to diarrhea that passes after symptomatic therapy. If an unvaccinated puppy becomes infected intrauterine, there is a risk that it will die suddenly from inflammation of the heart muscle.

Parvovirosis is suspected in the event of sudden diarrhea, often bloody and very unpleasant odor, especially in the case of puppies and young dogs. The diagnosis will be made by the veterinarian on the basis of anamnesis (information provided by the owner) and clinical picture, and will be confirmed by serological methods and proof of virus in faeces. The virus can be detected in the faeces within the first five to seven days by the so-called. bath test, but this test can be false positive for ten days after vaccination against parvovirosis.


Fluid and electrolyte replenishment, prevention of vomiting and prevention of secondary bacterial infections are of paramount importance in the treatment of this disease. The manner in which the therapy will be administered will be decided by the veterinarian according to the severity of the symptoms of the disease. For example, dogs that are slightly dehydrated and do not vomit may be given fluid and electrolyte solution by mouth, but intravenous fluid replacement (through infusion) is generally required. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are used in the event of a risk of septicemia when the bowel wall becomes so permeable that bacteria from the intestine move into the bloodstream. Also, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the veterinarian may administer a transfusion of whole blood, plasma, colloidal solutions and anti-vomiting agents.

Dogs should be deprived of food and water until they vomit, and then very slowly introduce small amounts of specially prepared light foods (there are several types of veterinary diets available on the market for dogs with this type of disease in a dehydrated and canned version, eg Purina Pro Plan Enteritic, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal, Eukanuba Veterinary Diet Intestinal Puppy for puppies or Intestinal for adult dogs) and small amounts of water. If the dog survives the first three to four days of the disease, the prognosis is generally favorable.


Prevention of the spread of disease involves the isolation of diseased animals and the thorough disinfection of the space in which they resided and the objects in which they were in contact. Disinfection can be carried out with a common varicin for home use diluted at a ratio of 1:30 or some other available disinfectant indicated to destroy parvoviruses. After getting over the disease, the dog will been resistant to the disease for at least two years, in some cases for lifetime.

Vaccination of dogs is a very important part of preventing the onset of the disease. Veterinarians will vaccinate the dog with a type of polyvalent vaccine (one that includes protection against multiple types of disease). Puppies vaccination begins at six to nine weeks of age and is repeated every 3 to 4 weeks until the age of 16 weeks, and into adulthood once a year. Lack of protection after vaccination is most often caused by premature or irregular vaccinations.