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Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a relatively new disease and was first recognized in dogs in 1978. Because of the severity of the disease and its rapid spread through the canine population, CPV has aroused considerable public interest, but many pet parents still don’t fully understand it. If you’ve ever wondered what parvo is or what you can do to protect your furry family member from it, you’ve come to the right place!

There are two slightly different strains of canine parvovirus: CPV-2a (1980) and CPV-2b (1984). They cause the same disease and vaccines give protection against both. That said, CPV-2b is associated with greater severity. One other distinct type of parvovirus, CPV-1, has been found in dogs but is not thought to cause illness. Symptoms of parvo include loss of appetite, fever, severe vomiting, and diarrhea that may have a very strong smell, contain mucus or even contain blood. If a dog has parvo, there will be a very obvious bad smell. Sadly, the illness may result in death. Parvo can affect dogs of all ages, but is most common in dogs less than one year of age. One of the most compelling reasons to vaccinate your dogs to protect them from parvo is the ease with which this disease spreads. Parvo is spread through the feces of infected dogs—your dog doesn’t even have to meet another dog or share space with them to be put at risk! CPV has been recovered from surfaces contaminated with dog feces even after three months at room temperature. An infected dog’s feces, or even objects or areas contaminated by it, could cause your four-legged friend to become critically ill. Even worse, the symptoms of parvo usually aren’t apparent until 6-10 days after the initial exposure!

So, what can you do to stop parvo in its tracks? First, promptly vaccinate any dog you bring into your home. This is currently the best defense against parvo. Second, do not allow your dog to approach feces while on walks, however interested in it they may be. Finally, prior to completion of vaccination, keep your dog safe by avoiding group settings for dogs, such as dog parks.

Despite your best efforts, it is still possible for your pup to fall ill with parvo. Should your furry friend begin to show symptoms, please call us immediately! NOVA Pets will ensure that your pup get's the care they need, even if we must refer you to a specialist. Just make sure you let us know you’re coming in with a dog suspected of having parvo so that we can keep everyone in our clinic healthy.

Call NOVA Pets today at (703) 378-9791 to schedule vaccination appointments, examinations, or for more information about keeping your pets happy and healthy with our wellness plans for felines and dogs!