Can People Bring Parvovirus to My Dogs on Their Shoes & Clothes?

by Naomi Millburn
Parvo is a major hazard for unvaccinated pooches in cramped city settings.

Parvo is a major hazard for unvaccinated pooches in cramped city settings.

Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images

Canine parvovirus is no joke. The condition is seriously infectious, and it can be fatal to dogs who contract it. Although people cannot get parvovirus, they can indeed bring it to dogs. Your dog can contract the virus from touching shoes and clothing that had prior contact with it. This is why vaccination is so important.

Easy to Transmit

Dogs can get parvovirus from people, household items or pets. If your neighbor was around a dog with parvovirus or tracked in infected dog waste, and then came over to your house that same afternoon, she could bring it to your precious pooch. So be careful. Parvovirus, which leads to serious intestinal problems in canines, isn't at all hard to transmit to dogs who aren't vaccinated. While parvovirus is contagious between dogs, cats aren't able to get it from them.

One Tough Virus

Canine parvovirus is extremely strong. It can stay alive for a long time, often even months, according to the ASPCA. It can stay alive on clothes, shoes, toys, furnishings and food dishes galore. If your neighbor works at an animal shelter once a week and wears the same shoes to visit you a couple of days after her last shift, she can transmit parvo to your dog. Parvovirus can be destroyed on clothing via diligent cleansing with hot water and detergent. Bleach and water solutions can also destroy the virus. Typical disinfectants are not capable of destroying it. If you don't properly and sufficiently cleanse clothing, shoes and other items that were around parvovirus, you have to throw them away immediately. If you have any questions about getting rid of the virus the right way, talk to a veterinarian.

Extreme Caution

If you're caring for a dog getting over parvovirus, be extremely cautious so you don't transmit it to others. Avoid dogs who aren't vaccinated against parvovirus for a minimum of six weeks while your pet is still healing. If you don't know a dog's vaccination status, assume he's not vaccinated and leave him alone.

Key Symptoms

Vaccinations can keep pets safe from the dangers of disease. If you're worried about your dog getting parvovirus, whether from a person, a chew toy or a fellow canine, get him vaccinated against it. Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, talk to your vet about the vaccine. Note that pooches of certain breeds are particularly vulnerable to the virus, including German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and Rottweilers. Youthful puppies are also particularly vulnerable. Typical signs of parvovirus in canines are absence of appetite, throwing up, exhaustion, dehydration, fever, feebleness and diarrhea. Diarrhea from dogs with parvo typically has an intensely unpleasant odor. It's also frequently accompanied by blood. If you suspect that your dog might have parvovirus, take him to the veterinarian for assistance without delay. Dogs who contract parvovirus typically don't display symptoms immediately. Symptoms tend to appear anywhere between seven and 10 days post-contact.

Photo Credits

  • Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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