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Parvo Symptoms in Dogs

What Does Parvo Look Like?

By Lauren Leonardi. June 03, 2013 | See Comments

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    PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian

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Parvo Symptoms in Dogs

It is good for everyone with a dog to know the signs and symptoms of parvo, since it is such a debilitating and widespread disease. Learn what those symptoms are here.

Parvo in Dogs Who Have Not Been Vaccinated

Puppies and adult dogs who have not been vaccinated from Parvovirus are susceptible to the disease. Parvo is highly contagious in unvaccinated dogs, and can be transmitted through fur or infected surfaces and objects.

If your dog begins to exhibit the following symptoms, it’s recommended that you take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Untreated, Parvo can be fatal.

Symptoms of Parvo

The first indication of the presence of Parvovirus is severe diarrhea. Your dog will likely become lethargic is a result of the dehydration associated with diarrhea. Your dog may also begin vomiting, which can only exacerbate lethargy and dehydration.

Blood in a dog’s stool is commonly associated with Parvo. As is an especially and uniquely stinky feces -- an odor commonly described as “far worse” than typical.

If these signs show up, get your puppy to a vet immediately. As with many illnesses, early detection and treatment of Parvo is of the essence.

How Parvo Works, Internally

According to Jenna Strevowski, RVT, “Parvovirus attacks cells in your dog’s body, specifically bone marrow and intestinal cells. After the bone marrow is affected, white blood cell count drops.” At this point, the immune system begins to shut down.

“The lining of the intestines are typically damaged when Parvovirus is present. At this point, the body is no longer able to absorb nutrients or properly digest food. The result is nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhea.”

If left untreated, Parvo can cause sepsis, an infection of the blood that occurs when the intestinal walls aren’t able to act as a barrier against bacteria.

Many dogs and puppies do not survive Parvovirus, which is why vaccination against the disease -- the only preventative measure -- is highly recommended.

If Dogs Have Been Vaccinated

The Parvovirus vaccination is reliable. Dogs who have been vaccinated from Parvo, who are exhibiting similar symptoms, are likely not suffering from Parvo, but from some other malady. They should still be checked out by a vet.

If your puppy is getting their puppy series of vaccinations, veterinarians recommend keeping your puppy away from other dogs until they've had their 2nd vaccination.

More on Dog Symptoms

Symptoms of Allergies in Cats and Dogs
How to Know if Your Dog Has Anxiety
Symptoms of Eye Infections in Pets

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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