Canine parvovirus disease

How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus

In general, this is how to know if your dog has parvovirus: after three to four days from infection you might notice fever, depression, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea.

The parvovirus (or canine parvoriosis) is one of the most common diseases in dogs and one for which we barely have any information. If the symptoms are unknown these can lead to misdiagnosis and be confused with a common gastrointestinal infection. This viral disease can be very serious in adult dogs and deadly in puppies as during the first months of life the pet's immune system is weak and more likely to get infections. To answer your questions about this disease, in this oneHOWTO article we explain how to tell if your dog has parvovirus. Do not neglect the health of your pet. Carefully read each of the following guidelines.

You may also be interested in: How to Know if my Dog Has Leishmaniasis
  1. What is canine parvovirus?
  2. How is parvovirus spread?
  3. What are the symptoms of canine parvovirus?
  4. Treatment for dogs with parvovirus
  5. Preventing parvovirus

What is canine parvovirus?

Canine parvoriosis is a serious infectious disease caused by a type 2 virus called parvo virus that affects the gastrointestinal system, red blood cells and, in severe cases or in puppies can attack the heart muscle.

It was only a few years ago that this disease was detected and therefore there is little information available and the chances of survival are low. 80% of dogs have been in contact with this virus that is mainly transmitted through infected faeces. It is very important to properly disinfect contaminated soil that has been in contact with infected faecal matter; the parvo virus is highly resistant and can remain for months in soil and contaminated objects. Most detergents and disinfectants are not sufficient to eliminate traces and the most effective products are chlorine bleach and water.

How is parvovirus spread?

To find out if your dog has canine parvoriosis you must first understand how the disease is transmitted. The canine parvovirus mostly attacks puppies under 6 months, adult or older dogs and vaccinated dogs and those that have not been treated for parasites. It is essential to deworm our dogs and have them vaccinated to prevent these kinds of diseases. Other factors that help the development of this disease can be stress, intestinal parasites, overcrowded living conditions or low energy. Breeds like german shepherd, doberman, pittbull or rottwailer are more vulnerable to the parvovirus that other breeds.

Canine parvoriosis is highly contagious, evolves at high speed and is transmitted through oral contact with infected faeces or contaminated material such as soil, food bowls or even our own shoes. In the case of puppies it may happen through lactation if the mother is a carrier. Objects can become contaminated through contact with our shoes after having stepped on infected faeces, through another infected dog or by contact with rodents faeces.

How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus - How is parvovirus spread?

What are the symptoms of canine parvovirus?

The canine parvoriosis usually takes three to four days to develop and symptoms may vary depending on the affected system. To find out if your dog has parvovirus, you should pay special attention to identify symptoms.

When it affects the gastrointestinal system symptoms are:

  • Fever (The first symptom)
  • Listless mood / depression
  • Shortness of breath, weakness and excessive panting
  • Isolation
  • Lack of appetite / Anorexia
  • Foamy vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhoea with strong odour
  • Dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhoea

When the parvo attacks the heart muscle, dyspnea and arching of the body are further symptoms. In puppies or very severe cases myocarditis may occur. The cardiac form parvovirus in puppies usually ends with sudden death due to the weak immune system of the animal.

How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus - What are the symptoms of canine parvovirus?

Treatment for dogs with parvovirus

If your dog or puppy has any of the above symptoms go to the vet to have the animal analysed and diagnosed. Once the virus is detected treatment for parvovirus should begin immediately. Because of its recent discovery, there is no specific medication to treat the disease. So veterinarians often base treatment on combating dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and by trying to control vomiting and diarrhoea to prevent the infection from increasing. Until it is completely cured your pet must not be in contact with other dogs.

Discover what you dog should eat if it has parvo virus.

How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus - Treatment for dogs with parvovirus

Preventing parvovirus

For the parvovirus disease the best treatment is prevention. To prevent your dog developing canine parvoriosis it is essential to strictly follow the vaccination plan assigned by the veterinarian, have the animal dewormed, maintain proper hygiene of both the dog and its environment, wash its food bowl often and keep food in a place where rodents cannot reach it.

Remember that before the first vaccinations your puppy may not be in contact with other dogs or go out. Through mothers' feeding milk the puppy can contract the disease; this can be combated with the relevant vaccines and be remove from the system unnoticed. And because the virus is spread through faeces you must avoid your puppy coming into contact with its own stool.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus, we recommend you visit our Pets category.


  • It is very important that you disinfect all contaminated material to help treat your dog.
Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
I have a pug and he has been for many months coughing but now is wore last time i took it him to the veterinary Dr he didn't sent any prescription and i thing hi is breath short last nigh he could not sleep at all what i do?
I'm not really sure exactly how old my puppr is, but I'm pretty sure he is sroyng 6 mos old. We have given him a 5&1 and wormer. The night before last I noticed my daughter had fed him some left over off her plate, fried potatoes and pinto beans. Later he vomited one time and wouldn't eat or drink. The next day he did eat he did drink, but still not a solid bowl movement. Now this is early in the morning following he has vomited 4 times. But we were sleeping and I woke up hot and thought that's what was wrong with him. He hasn't became lethargic nor have I noticed anything else. I'm really praying he does not have parvo. Is there anything anything else I should be looking for? He has not vomited outside of the times I mentioned and it's been about 30 to 45 min.ago. ty
Alba Charles (oneHOWTO editor)
Hi DeAnne, it seems like the best thing you could do is to immediately take your dog to the vet. He's the one that will know what's making your dog sick and will give you solutions.
1 of 4
How to Know if My Dog Has Parvovirus