Parvovirus is a viral disease that was recognised for the first time in 1978.  There are two types of Parvovirus.

Canine Parvovirus Myocarditis

When a dam has not been vaccinated or been infected with Parvovirus she will not have any immunity to the disease resulting in offspring with no immunity to the disease.  The virus is attracted to rapidly growing cells, such as those in the heart muscle.  Often, no symptoms are not noticed until the puppies become more active, at about 4-10 weeks when sudden death can occur, this is due to deterioration in the heart muscle which causes weakness and degeneration. Puppies left from such a litter must not be sold as healthy stock.

Interstinal Canine Parvovirus

This form of Parvovirus can be contracted from the age of 4 weeks and in to old age. The disease can be fatal, especially in the first year.  The virus destroys the lining of the intestine, it is this lining that normally has the ability to absorb fluids but due to the disease it is unable to perform this function.

Signs

Severe vomiting even after small volumes of water.

Profuse diarrhoea, sometimes passing blood.

Depression

Abdominal pain

Due to vomiting and diarrhoea the animal will become rapidly dehydrated this can quickly cause electrolyte imbalance.  It is therefore extremely important that veterinary advice is sought by telephone.  Do not take your dog in to a vets waiting room where there are other animals. It may be necessary for the vet to re-hydrate the dog with intravenous fluids for 24 to 48 hours.  Puppies that have been severely affected may have problems for several months and their growth could be stunted.

Although disinfection is extremely important the virus is very difficult to eradicate. Sodium Hypochlorite (domestic bleach) and formalin will destroy the virus but many others will not.

Prevention

Vaccinate puppies

Isolate any suspected cases.  

Members of an infected household must avoid other dogs.

Mode of transmission

Via the faeces.

Human clothing and shoes.

The virus can remain in a kennel or house for up to a year.

Incubation Period

Five Days