Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease. Symptoms include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, anorexia and death. While the majority of cases occur in young, unvaccinated puppies, older, previously vaccinated dogs are still at risk of exposure to the virus and contracting the disease. Regular vaccination boosters or blood titers help to monitor and keep your dog’s level of immunity strong.
Puppies Need Parvo Vaccines
Parvo vaccines typically begin between 6 and 8 weeks of age, with boosters every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 to 20 weeks old. An additional booster is administered at the puppy’s one-year checkup. While some dogs continue to remain immune to parvo after this series of vaccinations, that is not true in all dogs. Most veterinarians recommend boosters every one to three years or regular blood titers to check immunity levels. If you vaccinate your dog at home, make sure the vaccinations have been stored at the correct temperature to ensure effectiveness.
Parvo Exposure Lies in the Soil
Parvovirus spreads through the feces of infected animals and infects the soil in that area. The virus is capable of surviving in the environment for as long as a year. Simply walking through an area with parvovirus is enough to bring the virus home to your dog. Parks and even a simple walk around the neighborhood can expose your dog to the virus. If your dog has not received all of his recommended shots and his immunity is low, there is a possibility of contracting parvo.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.