Keep Your Dog Safe from Parvovirus

RSPCA NSW considers that vaccinating your dog against Parvovirus is essential to protecting their welfare. Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect your dog, and other dogs in the community, from this devastating illness. It is also important to follow good hygiene practices, such as regularly cleaning your dog’s living areas, washing your hands after handling dogs, and avoiding contact with other dogs if your dog is unwell.

Protecting your furry mate from Parvovirus is key to their health and wellbeing. Vaccination is a crucial step in keeping your dog healthy and happy, so make sure to speak to your vet about getting your dog protected.

What is Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus is a serious and often fatal viral disease that affects unvaccinated dogs and puppies. It is highly contagious and spreads directly or indirectly through faecal matter.

Clinical signs and symptoms to look out for

The incubation period typically lasts between four to six days, with clinical signs and symptoms of infection varying from mild to severe.

They may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

What to do when you suspect that your dog has become infected

If you suspect that your dog has contracted Parvovirus, contact your nearest veterinary hospital. Be sure to alert them over the phone so that they can instruct you on how to arrive, as they will need to keep your dog isolated from the other animals in their care. Your dog will likely be physically examined and given a Parvovirus Faecal Antigen Test. From there, your vet will be able to assist you in diagnosing and treating it appropriately.

In the meantime, you can reduce the viral load in your environment by disinfecting any potentially contaminated areas.

How to safely disinfect an area

Canine Parvovirus can survive on items of clothing, floors and other surfaces for months to years. As a precaution, it is incredibly important that you safely disinfect the areas your dog has soiled in order to avoid potential infection to other dogs in future. Most disinfectants don’t work well in the presence of organic matter so cleaning the area first is important. Disinfectants must be mixed to the proper dilution and remain saturated for the proper contact time to be effective against Parvovirus. Surfaces and bedding can be disinfected using bleach and water; note that bleach requires a contact time of ten minutes.

Can it be treated?

Yes, the infection is treatable. However, due to the seriousness of the virus it is vital that treatment is sought immediately after first symptoms present themselves to prevent a fatal outcome.

How do I prevent my dog/puppy from getting parvo?

The easiest, most effective thing to do to ensure your dog stays safe from parvovirus is to book them in for a vaccination. Ensuring a full vaccination course is completed at the correct time in your dog’s life is essential, particularly when they are a pup. A vaccination schedule implemented by a vet will go a mile in keeping them safe.

Prior to your pup finishing its vaccination course, be sure to socialise them in areas where the risk of infection is low.

Are some dogs more susceptible than others?

Unvaccinated puppies at 6-20 weeks old are the most at risk of contracting the virus. However, adult dogs can be susceptible if not vaccinated.

You can have your dog vaccinated against Parvovirus at one of our veterinary hospitals here.