Parvovirus is a hearty viral disease that is life threatening to dogs and puppies. Since parvo has a long life span even in cold weather, treating the area, including the yard and kennel after a canine is diagnosed or if parvo is suspected, and killing the virus is of utmost importance.
Parvo is transmitted from one dog to another or by other animals through contact with infected feces. Adult dogs may carry the virus and not be affected by it, inadvertently transmitting it to younger dogs. According to the Nevis Humane Society website, parvo can live in the soil up to nine months or longer. Once they are exposed to he virus, it may take puppies between seven and 10 days to show clinical symptoms.
Since parvo attacks the digestive system, puppies with the virus are unable to absorb liquids and nutrients. The early symptoms include bloody diarrhea with a foul smell and vomiting. Eventually, the infected puppy becomes lethargic and refuses to eat or drink. This leads to dehydration and death if untreated. If symptoms are present, your veterinarian has tests to verify the diagnosis of parvo.
Since parvo can live in the ground for several months, it is important to clean the area before bringing another puppy home. Where there is no living material, such as grass or plants, saturate the ground with a solution of one part bleach to 32 parts water or one-half cup of bleach per gallon of water. Allow the area to dry and repeat the process. Also, clean any bowls and toys with the bleach solution. Dilute the concentration of parvo on your living lawn by spraying it with water and letting it dry as directed by the Cornell University College of Veterinary medicine website. Repeat the process for several days and keep any young, susceptible dogs away from the area as long as possible.
In addition to cleaning the area, vaccinating your puppy against the virus helps protect him. A veterinarian can help determine the vaccines your puppy needs. However, the first vaccine is generally given when the puppy is between 6 and 8 weeks old. A booster is required every four weeks until the puppy reaches 5 months old. Keeping your puppy away from dog parks or other areas where dogs gather is also important to prevent parvo.