Does a Parvo Immunity Pass on to Puppies?

by Cindy Quarters
    Nursing puppies get immunity from their mother.

    Nursing puppies get immunity from their mother.

    Three Lions/Valueline/Getty Images

    Parvo is a highly contagious disease that is often fatal to puppies. The virus can live in the soil or on other surfaces for a year or more and be able to infect a puppy that comes along and ingests a bit of the dirt or otherwise swallows the parvo virus. Puppies must be vaccinated early to protect them from the disease, but if their mother had immunity the puppies will as well, at least at first.


    The first milk that puppies – and other mammals – drink is colostrum. This special milk is rich in antibodies and can be absorbed by very young animals. When puppies are born and nurse from their mothers they get colostrum along with the antibodies for anything she’s immune to, including parvo. As they age their mother’s immunity begins to wear off, leaving the pups vulnerable to disease. A series of puppy shots is essential to replace the mother’s immunity and provide continued protection against parvo and other diseases.

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    About the Author

    A recipient of a business and technology degree from the master's program at West Coast University, Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. Past experience as a veterinary technician and plenty of time gardening round out her interests. Quarters has had work featured in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette.

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