Canine Parvovirus (CPV)

Learn About the Signs, Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment of Parvo in Dogs

Canine parvovirus (also called CPV or parvo) is a very contagious and potentially fatal viral disease seen in dogs. Most commonly, parvovirus causes gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Canine parvovirus is contagious and can survive for several months (some experts say as long as 2 years) in the environment, and is also resistant to many disinfectants. Vaccination is necessary to protect dogs, especially puppies.

  • 01 of 09
    Maltese-Shihtzu puppy after first bath by wsilver on Flickr
    Maltese-Shihtzu puppy after first bath. by wsilver on Flickr

    Parvo is a common and potentially serious viral disease in dogs. The virus is officially known Parvovirus. Canine Parvovirus is thought to be a mutation from the feline Parvovirus, also known as Feline Distemper virus. The canine version of this disease is commonly referred to as Parvo. The virus first appeared clinically in 1978, and there was a widespread epidemic in dogs of all ages.

  • 02 of 09
    Buffy Baird by Mike Baird on Flickr
    Buffy Baird. by Mike Baird on Flickr

    Some people may be surprised to know that parvo is still around. Unfortunately, puppies and unvaccinated dogs still die from this disease. Here are a five key points about parvo for a quick overview.

  • 03 of 09
    Sleeping Puppy by Richard Stowey on Flickr
    Sleeping Puppy . by Richard Stowey on Flickr

    Parvovirus infection is a serious disease that affects the gastrointestinal or cardiac systems of dogs. Parvo is a highly contagious and often sudden viral disease; puppies are particularly susceptible. Learn what the common clinical signs are in this FAQ.

  • 04 of 09
    Lab Puppy
    Lab Puppy "Nala". by Jerry Frausto on Flickr

    Canine parvovirus (also called parvo) is a very contagious and potentially fatal viral disease seen in dogs. Most commonly, parvovirus causes gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Learn more about parvo from Lianne McLeod, DVM, About.com Contributing Writer

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  • 05 of 09
    A Boxer Knows by Kyle May on Flickr
    A Boxer Knows. by Kyle May on Flickr

    A viewer asked if parvo can be spread via vomit (as well as feces) after losing a puppy to parvo. Learn about parvovirus shedding and disinfection tips in this Parvo FAQ.

  • 06 of 09

    Can my dogs spread parvo to another dog?

    JR and friends by Les Chatfield on Flickr
    JR and friends. by Les Chatfield on Flickr

    A viewer asks this question about parvo in dogs:

    "I recently traveled with my two dogs that are vaccinated. I stayed with a friend who had a ten-month old dog that was not vaccinated. After we were there for two days, her dog got sick and died from Parvo. Could my dogs carry the virus from stopovers at roadside rest areas and given it to her dog? This was a very sad situation and I need to know if it was because of my visit."

  • 07 of 09
    Puppy carrying stick / David Dyer
    Puppy carrying stick. David Dyer

    One of the most common questions and concerns about parvovirus is how long it lasts and how to disinfect the environment. This is especially important if a new puppy will be brought into a possibly contaminated area. Read this FAQ to learn about disinfecting against parvovirus.

  • 08 of 09
    Sick dog on IV Fluids in veterinary hospital © Miguel Vera on Flickr
    Sick dog on IV Fluids in veterinary hospital. © Miguel Vera on Flickr

    Tell us about it
    Share the story of your dog's experiences with parvo. How did you cope?

    Please note: this space is for your stories. Questions will not be answered on this page. If your pet is ill, please see your vet as soon as possible.

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  • 09 of 09

    The AVMA released a FAQ in April 2008 about a relatively new strain of parvovirus called canine parvovirus type 2c (CPV-2c). This strain causes the same gastrointestinal signs as the "regular" virus, canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2). These signs may include vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration.