Parvo, or canine parvovirus, is a highly contagious viral infection that causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and anorexia. Due to vaccinations, the majority of parvo cases occur in young puppies who have not received full vaccinations. Older dogs without adequate vaccination boosters still may contract parvovirus when exposed.
Puppies receive the first parvo vaccination between 6 to 8 weeks of age, with additional boosters given at four-week intervals until they reach 16 to 20 weeks of age. After this, boosters are administered every one to three years, based on the shot given. As your dog ages, the veterinarian may recommend checking antibody titers, or parvo immunity, to reduce unnecessary vaccines.
The parvovirus has the ability to live in the environment for months or years. The virus sheds in the feces of infected dogs and enters the soil or surrounding environment. When visiting a dog park or even walking around the neighborhood, your dog may encounter infected areas, exposing him to the virus and increasing the risk of infection if he has not received adequate vaccinations.
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