PARVO KILLS: The Dangers of Canine Parvovirus

What is it, what are the risks and symptoms, what can you do to protect your dog?


By Sarah Fulcher, Cert.CBST

Recently there have been multiple reported cases of Parvovirus (parvo) in the Trail area; I felt it was important to write an article providing insight and information into what this deadly disease is.


What is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus, better known as Parvo, is an extremely dangerous and highly contagious canine viral disease, which affects dogs and is especially threatening to young puppies. Parvo most commonly affects puppies as the virus attacks the quickly developing cells in a young pup’s body as the animal grows. However, it is important to note that dogs of all ages can become infected. Generally, parvo affects the intestines causing diarrhea and/or vomiting. The virus can also affect the animal’s heart causing it to fail. Ultimately, this virus can lead to the death of your pet. However, if the animal does survive, it can potentially cost thousands of dollars to treat and leave your pet with lifelong health and behavioural challenges for your pet.

How is it spread?

Parvo is spread through direct dog-to-dog contact or with direct contact with infected feces.

What at the symptoms?

  • Lethargy (lack of energy)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (often bloody)

If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms contact your
veterinarian  immediately



Can I prevent parvo?

 Yes, if you follow a proper vaccination protocol and use a bit of caution can usually prevent parvo.

Your puppy should receive one set of shots with the breeder at 6-8 weeks of age. A second round of inoculations is necessary 3-4 weeks later, at 10-12 weeks of age. A third round is given in another 3-4 weeks. If you have gotten a puppy that has not had any vaccines, take it to the vet as soon as possible.

What precautions should I take?

In order to keep your puppy safe from parvo and other diseases, there are a few precautions you should take. Your puppy needs to be socialized during this time, but it’s imperative that you take some precautions:

Do Not:

  • Take your puppy to the dog park before they’ve had all their shots.

  • Take your puppy in public places frequented by strange dogs until your vet says it’s safe.

  • Wait too long in between vaccines.

  • Let your dog socialize with unvaccinated dogs.


  • Let your puppy socialize with friends and friends’ dogs you know are vaccinated.

  • Bring your puppy to safe places like friends’ houses or the veterinarian’s office.

  • Enroll your puppy in a puppy class or puppy socialization hour so that they get the exposure they need as young dogs in a safe environment.*

*Sanitary precautions must be taken. Check with your vet who they recommend for puppy classes in your area.