Pets & Animal Dog Breeds

Warning Signs That a Dog is Dying from Parvovirus

    • Parvovirus typically affects puppies and older dogs.stray sleeping dog image by Cherry-Merry from

      Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a common infection among dogs. Spread through contact with virus-containing feces or surfaces that have had contact with feces, parvovirus, known also as "parvo," is easily contracted. The disease is particularly dangerous to puppies, but older dogs can suffer from it and die as well if they develop an acute form of the infection. Immediate treatment is essential if the dog is to survive an infection. Symptoms are easy to spot.


    • The most obvious sign of a parvovirus infection is diarrhea, as the most common form of the disease, parvovirus enteritis, attacks the intestine. Fecal matter may be runny, dark or bloody as the virus infects the dog's intestinal tract. It is important to clean the fecal matter up immediately and treat the surface with bleach to kill the virus, which can live on for a long time even after the feces have been removed. Not killing the virus can lead to the spread of the disease or reinfection.


    • Dogs who have been infected with parvovirus also tend to vomit, as their digestion is destroyed by the sickness. Dogs may heave and vomit frequently and in small amounts as the disease progresses and robs the animal of nutrition and water. Cleaning up the vomit is also essential, as is cleaning the surface upon which the dog has vomited. Keeping the dog clean is also important so he doesn't spread the virus through licking or sniffing.


    • As the parvovirus disease progresses the dog will become dehydrated because of continual vomiting or diarrhea, which also robs him of essential nutrients and electrolytes. The dog may be weak, listless, inactive or unresponsive. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment can include administration of fluids. Owners may also be advised to give their dog electrolyte-enriched water at home.


    • Fever is another easily detected symptom of parvovirus. While dogs can suffer from a fever for a variety of reasons, when it occurs in conjunction with other symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting it is an indication there is an infection. Elevated temperature, constant panting and listlessness are signs the dog has a fever.

    Virus Found in Fecal Matter

    • A veterinarian may have to perform or order a test to determine if a dog is suffering from parvovirus. A test of fecal matter with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay antigen test, often called the CITE test, is a relatively simple and inexpensive diagnostic measure that can be performed at the veterinarian's office.

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