Parvo, or parvovirus, is a fatal disease that's highly contagious but preventable. Parvovirus spreads through contact with infected feces. Parvo is environmentally stable -- able to survive for months -- leaving dogs vulnerable to contact with the virus during walks or puppy play dates. Parvo's prevented by vaccinations, but young puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs are susceptible.
Parvovirus sheds in the feces of infected dogs. When a healthy, unvaccinated dog comes into contact with and ingests the virus, the virus travels into the intestines, infecting the dog. After exposure, dogs begin showing symptoms in six to 10 days. Symptoms include severe vomiting and diarrhea, often with blood, and a distinct, strong odor. Lack of appetite, lethargy, depression and fever are other symptoms. If you suspect parvo, seek veterinary care immediately.
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