Canine Parvovirus (CPV)

Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a contagious disease attacking cells that rapidly reproduce. It can occur at any age but is ordinarily seen in puppies around 6 to 20 weeks old. There are two types of CPV, intestinal and cardiac. Intestinal CPV is most common and is distinguished by diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, and weight loss. Cardiac CPV is usually only seen in very young puppies and attacks their heart muscles, typically resulting in death. Vaccination is extremely important and can help prevent Canine Parvovirus. Certain breeds, namely Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers, are particularly susceptible to infection so extra caution should be taken.

CPV can be contracted directly or indirectly. Most dogs obtain the virus via fecal-oral contact. Heavy concentrations of Canine Parvovirus are excreted in an infected dog’s stools, so if a healthy dog sniffs or licks contaminated feces, it can contract the disease. Even indirect contact with fecal matter on an owner’s shoes can bring the disease into an environment. The virus is extremely resilient and can live in soil for up to one year, and it is resistant to weather changes and most cleaning products. If you suspect CPV to be present in your home, bleach is the only household disinfectant known to kill the virus. When bleaching surfaces, be sure your pets  have no contact until they are thoroughly dry and aired out.

Possible symptoms of Canine Parvovirus: 

  • Diarrhea (often containing blood). 
  • Depression. 
  • Vomiting. 
  • Bloodshot eyes. 
  • Coughing.
  • Dry mouth. 
  • Lethargy.

How is CPV diagnosed and treated?

When bringing your dog in for an exam, we will ask for a history of your pet’s clinical signs and vaccine history. Canine Parvovirus is diagnosed with a physical examination, biochemical tests, urine analysis, and X-rays and ultrasounds of the abdomen.

CPV is a viral infection, and currently, there is no cure. Because the infection itself cannot be cured, treatment focuses on addressing the symptoms it creates and preventing any secondary infection. Hospitalization is often necessary because of the severe dehydration that is commonly associated with CPV. Supportive care involves IV fluid therapy and medications that can lessen vomiting, nausea, and pain. Young puppies are at greater risk for death, but many dogs will survive with appropriate care.

If you think your pet might have CPV, contact our office immediately so we can schedule an exam.

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