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A few recall about canine parvovirus infection

Canine parvovirus infection is a dog's viral disease ; in France, it is one of the defects that makes the dog's sale invalid. The most sensitive animals are puppies between 5 and 12 weeks old.

Clinical symptoms of parvovirus infection are generally:

  • loss of appetite, followed by uncontrollable vomiting and a very nauseating diarrhea, sometimes stained with blood,
  • a rapid dehydration leading to the puppy's death, despite the veterinary treatments that have been tried.

Less classical forms or parvovirus infection are:

  • hyperacute form: the death occurs brutally, without any previous symptoms ;
  • attenuated form: symptoms diseappear after a week. Sometimes, puppies have such lesions of the intestinal mucosa, that they will always suffer for chronical troubles of assimilation.

Parvovirus is the most agressive virus involved in puppies' viral gastro-enteritis. Other virus can cause similar symptoms (ex : coronavirus), but as long as they act alone, they are rarely responsible of mortality.

Contamination way

Parvovirus can resist more than one year in the external environment. This great resistance explains why he has not been completely eradicated from canine breedings yet. The main sources of viral particles are the feces of the infected animals, but the virus is also disseminated by: urine, saliva, hair, and all the soiled tools of the kennel. It spreads around very quickly inside the breeding, but also from kennel to another. The virus gets in the body through the oro-nasal route and the incubation time is 3 to 5 days.


Confirmation of the clinical diagnosis is done when the virus is found in the stools during the first days following the emergence of the clinical symptoms. Some veterinary kits exist, that allow a quick diagnosis from a simple sampling of the stools.


The treatment does not aim at destroying the virus itself, but just at limiting the clinical expression of the disease thanks to: perfusions, gastro-intestinal bandages, modifiers of the digestive motricity, antibiotherapy, dietetic measures… This treatment means that the puppy has to be hospitalized. Empirically, one notices that when the sick puppy begins to eat again, it can be considered as a positive sign annonciating the next recovery.

What are the sanitory measures that shoud be applied in case of parvovirus infection ?

Considering the virus resistance, the safety measures must be very strict.

  • Wearing a coverall suit and overboots from coming into the kennel until coming out.
  • Desinfection of the soiled buildings and tools with bleach (dilution 1/30).
  • Shampoo for all the animals that have been in contact with the virus: bleach will be added to the rinsing water.
  • Bleeched bath for the pregnant bitches when they move to the maternity. Sanitory isolation of the maternity.
  • Vaccination of puppies one week before the average date for symptoms appearance. Use a live monovalent vaccine, usable even in presence of maternal antibodies. Repeat the injections every week until puppies reach the age of 12 weeks old.
  • Do not sell puppies before 12 weeks ; if the customer agrees, waiting until 20 weeks, allows to prevent even better the risk of parvovirus infection outbreak after the puppy's sale.

All these precautions are sometimes unsufficient to protect the totality of the puppies to be born. Actually, vaccination efficiency for puppies who still have maternal antibodies is always problematic. However, these measures will clearly make dicrease the number of sick and/or dead puppies. They are also very important to limit the risk of parvovirus infection outbreak once the puppy has been taken away by its owner.

Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website

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