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Parvo is a very transmittable virus that can get airborne, on clothes, hair, etc.  Quarantine of a puppy is key to preventing spreading. 

Part four of four parts:

Cleaning Protocols:
Generally, there are only two products which kill this virus with a ten-minute contact parvopup1time. Trifectant and bleach (1/2 cup/gallon dilution) will successfully kill Parvo.  Other products that claim to kill parvo are not effective according to most sources we know. There may be some other newer commercial products out there not mentioned in these articles.


Once parvo has hit the house, you need to clean fastidiously with a 20% bleach solution on all hard surfaces and Trifectant on carpets, clothing, etc.

For lawns, quarantine all new dogs (so if they “break” with it you will not have contaminated all areas with sick dogs) until at least two weeks have passed. Keep at-risk or contaminated puppies on hard, easy to clean surfaces like driveways or concrete, not yards, and the less porous, the better.

IF you have had a parvo dog on your property do NOT bring an unprotected animal onto the premises.   “Unprotected” means less than two years and/or missing any shots.

Parvo is a very transmittable virus that can get airborne, on clothes, hair, etc.  Quarantine of a puppy during shot period is key.  

You should never let their feet touch the ground in any “public” area, e.g., your unfenced front yard, anywhere another animal or person could have been and contaminated until one to three weeks after the third shot and the longer the better.

Typically, when Parvo shows, it pops up seven to ten days’ post exposure. First signs tend to be only lethargy and decreased appetite—they will suddenly become less interested or totally uninterested in food or water. It seems the littlest ones first show symptoms, then diarrhea; not at first bloody just really loose, gelatinous, mucus filled and sometimes golden in color.  They may show symptoms for a few days before the diarrhea (lethargy and food disinterest), sometimes throwing up watery or foamy phlegm. Then full-blown watery stools with that fermented blood smell and at that stage, it is harder to treat.

A parvo puppy, post treatment, could potentially be harboring the virus (and shedding) for up to 4 weeks, so isolation is necessary. Do not allow unvaccinated animals in areas where puppy has been, nor should you allow puppy out into the general population due to risk of contamination to other animals.  

After four weeks make sure to bathe puppy thoroughly and do complete bleach clean on all affected areas. If taking puppy to vet before the isolation period is complete, inform vet you have a recovering parvo pup and use carrier, plus universal precaution (Fresh clothing, bleached carrier, only take animal into office when called, etc.) so as not to risk other animals in office.  
Continue to limit yard access during this isolation time, utilizing a kennel or exercise pen to keep puppy and feces on easily cleaned hard surface. Suggested bleach clean mixture is 20% bleach to water, let sit wet for ten minutes, then rinse.

Pick up all feces and such BEFORE bleach cleaning.  Keep an eye out for secondary parasitic infections like Giardia and coccidia, stools can mimic parvo, and harbored parasites can overgrow due to stress of parvo on system.
Parvo can live in soil for up to two years. A 3-month quarantine is a minimum during hot dry weather.

House contamination is one to three months, even after a thorough cleaning by hard surface cleaner with Parvocide or Trifectant. The advantage to Trifectant is that it will not damage fabrics, but requires careful handling.

Other Pro-active actions:

Wash hands (lots of hand washing).

Keeping puppies separated from other dogs.

Clean all poop spots, etc. with Clorox. Dispose of the poop in a plastic bag.

Do not touch the other dogs without washing your hands and changing shirts.

Parvovirus is a deadly viral disease and a dog infected with the virus has only a 50-50 survival chance.

If your puppy is showing signs and symptoms that he may have been infected with the parvo virus, do not delay - get veterinary care immediately. Dogs with parvo require intensive veterinary care and management. Except for the mildest cases, hospitalization is usually necessary. ¹

Clinical Signs

What are the symptoms we need to be aware of? Well, identifying Parvo can be a problem. Why?

There may not be any signs in a large number of the dogs.  Not only that, but many of these dogs could be shedding the virus in their feces!

When signs are present, they may be variable, but generally take the form of severe vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Vomiting is usually the first sign to develop after infection. Diarrhea usually begins about 24 hours later and may or may not contain blood.  Some dogs exhibit anorexia, depression, and fever.  Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection can mimic other diseases causing vomiting and diarrhea; consequently, the diagnosis of CPV is sometimes a challenge for the veterinarian.

To confirm Parvo (Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection), requires the demonstration of the virus in the feces or the detection of anti-CPV antibodies in the blood serum. Usually detection of the virus in the feces is easily done and takes just a few minutes performed in the veterinarian’s office. Occasionally a dog will have parvovirus, but test negative for virus in the stool; fortunately, this is not a common occurrence.

A presumptive diagnosis may be based on the presence of a reduced white blood cell count (leukopenia). If further confirmation is needed, feces or blood can be submitted to a veterinary laboratory for the other tests, because Parvo infection can mimic other diseases causing vomiting and diarrhea, making it difficult to diagnose.  


What is Parvo? Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a relatively new disease that first struck the canine population in 1978.

Dogs under the age of two years old are the most at risk of becoming infected with Parvo.
PARVO, Home Treatment for Parvo



What is Parvo?

Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a relatively new disease that first struck the canine population in 1978. Because of the severity of the disease and its rapid spread, CPV has aroused a great deal of public interest. The virus that causes the infection is very similar to feline distemper and the two diseases are almost identical. Therefore, it has been speculated that the canine virus is a mutation of the feline virus; however, that has never been proven.

Canine Parvovirus Infection (CPV) is considered most threatening to puppies between the time of weaning and six months of age. Adult dogs can also contract the virus, although it is relatively uncommon. Keep in mind that there is more than one strain of parvo, so your animal can get the virus again.

CPV affects only dogs and cannot be transmitted to humans or another species. However, other animals and humans can carry it to dogs. Dogs that become infected have a 50-50 chance of survival. If they survive the first four days, they will usually recover rapidly and become immune to the virus for life. Most puppies will die without medical treatment.

Once your animal recovers, continue with vaccinations on a recommended schedule through the four shot protocol.  Many parvo puppies have gone on to live normal lives with no further complications.   

Canine parvovirus has been reported to exist in approximately 50 different countries.


The causative agent of CPV disease is a very hearty virus. like other viruses, CPV is stable in the environment and is resistant to the effects of heat, detergents, and alcohol. CPV has been recovered from dog feces even after three months at room temperature.

Since the virus is so resistant to decay, it can survive for long periods and be transmitted to any dog by simple contact with a contaminated object (called a “fomite”). Examples of fomites include shoes, clothing, play toys, insects, and feet of the infected dog.

Feces of the infected dog contain millions of viral particles. Susceptible dogs become infected by ingesting (swallowing) the virus. There does not have to be direct contact between the two dogs. Dogs that become infected with the virus and show clinical signs will usually become ill within seven to ten days of the initial infection.

Contributing Factors:

Several factors contribute to the clinical course of parvovirus infection in dogs. These include stress, vaccination history, and age of the dog, concurrent infection with other diseases or parasites, and breed of the dog.

Various studies have reported the breeds thought to be at increased risk for parvovirus; these breeds include the Rottweiler, Doberman pinscher, black Labrador Retriever, American Pit Bull Terrier, and the German Shepherd dog.

Parvoviral enteritis (intestinal inflammation) may affect dogs of all ages, but is most common in dogs less than one year of age. Young puppies less than five months of age are often the most severely affected and the most difficult to treat.

CPV has been regarded as reaching peak incidence in the spring and summer months, when puppies are losing the natural immunity conferred from the mother. A 1996 study of 283 dogs with CPV found the highest incidence in July, August, and September. Intact (non-neutered) male dogs were more likely to contract CPV than female dogs.

Does parvovirus pose a health risk for me? How about for my cats?

At the present time, there is no evidence to indicate that CPV is transmissible to cats or humans.

Dogs that spend their time confined to a house or yard and are not in contact with other dogs have much less chance of exposure to CPV. It's easily transmitted via the hair or feet of infected dogs, and also by contaminated objects such as cages or shoes. CPV is hardy and can remain in feces-contaminated ground for five months or more if conditions are favorable.

Although most disinfectants cannot kill it, chlorine bleach is quite effective. There may be other means of transmission of CPV, but they are not known at this time.

Diarrhea syndrome, or enteritis, has an incubation period of five to fourteen days.

Dogs with enteritis act like they are in extreme pain.

Early symptoms are depression, loss of appetite, vomiting, high fever, and severe diarrhea. Feces can be either grayish or fluid and bloody. Rapid dehydration is a danger, and dogs may continue to vomit and have diarrhea until they die, usually three days after onset of symptoms.

Others may recover without complications and have no long-term problems. Puppies can die suddenly of shock, as early as two days into the illness.

Can parvo be prevented?

The best method of protecting your dog against CPV infection is proper vaccination. Puppies receive a parvo vaccination as part of their multiple-agent vaccine given at eight, twelve and sixteen weeks of age. In some situations, veterinarians will give the vaccine on two-week intervals and an additional booster at 18 to 20 weeks of age.

After the puppy series of vaccinations, all dogs should be bolstered at least once a year. Dogs in high exposure situations (kennels, dog shows, field trials, etc.) may be better protected with a booster every six months.

Pregnant bitches should be bolstered within two weeks of whelping in order to transfer protective antibodies to her puppies.

The final decision about a proper vaccination schedule should be made by your veterinarian.

Long Term Prevention:

Ideally, four shots are given three to four weeks apart starting at six to eight weeks. Best protection rates seem to be with the distemper/parvo only “Puppy” shots.  The five-way may over work the immune system, but they are better than nothing and it is what most vets use.  Some vets do the final or fourth shot once the animal has reached six months of age.

Is there a way to kill the virus in the environment?

The stability of CPV in the environment makes it important to properly disinfect contaminated areas. This is accomplished by cleaning food bowls, water bowls, and other contaminated items with a solution of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water. It is important that chlorine bleach be used because most "virucidal" disinfectants will not kill canine parvovirus.  

NOTE FROM BOSTON TERRIER NETWORK: The information on Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection better known as PARVO is from several sources, meant to introduce you to a very serious virus that usually affects dogs under the age of two years old. We feel that anyone working with dogs of any breed or age should be aware of this virus and the preventive measures to reduce risks.

Related articles:

Dogs under the age of two years old are the most at risk of becoming infected with Parvo.
PARVO, Home Treatment for Parvo
PARVO, Keeping the virus from spreading


Home treatment for parvo infection is a bad idea, when compared to hospitalization and intensive care. Mortality rises substantially and the heavy diarrhea and vomiting lead to heavy viral contamination in the home. Still, if financial concerns preclude hospitalization, home care may be the puppies only chance. Fluids will have to be given under the skin at home as will injectable medicines. ²

Expectations and General Feeding.
If caught early and treated appropriately, parvo treatment success (depending on strain) is about 80-90%.  If the puppy makes it thru the first five to seven days, your success rate increases. Once the puppy has begun to rebound, you must still complete the entire course of medicines (switch to oral if able to keep down), utilizing fluids until puppy is eating and drinking enough to hydrate himself or herself.  This can be a very intensive process and you may need to have the vet board your puppy during this time.

Desire for food generally occurs between three to seven days.  During treatment, keep testing puppies’ desire for food and ability to hold down food by utilizing pea size drops of Nutri-Cal (Nutri-Cal for Dogs is a high calorie nutritional supplement loaded with vitamins and minerals. Quality nutrition for picky eaters, dogs who are 'off food' or dogs who require an additional source of energy. Great tasting gel is easy to administer to your dog for a boost of supplemental nutrition any time.) and small oral doses of Pedialyte (Unflavored Pedialyte can restore the proper balance of electrolytes and glucose levels that will help the cells absorb and keep water.  

Remember not to mix any other type of drink with the Pedialyte except for water only). Also use the Nutri-Cal as an energy supplement, if puppy can keep down, throughout treatment.

Once the puppy shows more interest, leave out measured amounts of Pedialyte (for water and tracking intake), feed by syringe a light amount of dog food, soaked and mashed/slurred, dry or watered down canned.  Science Diet ID or AD, or Purina EN are good choices for less potential upset.  GO slow, do not force or overfeed.  

Keep in mind their GI tract is still raw.  After a couple of days of timed feedings (every four to six hours) you can increase the amount of food given until animal wants and tolerates a regular diet.

If the feces go too solid bright watery red, resembling fresh blood, things are touch and go.  At this point, continuation of treatment or vet intervention should be reconsidered as the Parvo virus can destroy the arteries in the colon. You must do what is best for the puppy.

Nutri-Cal is always very good with a puppy after parvo treatment. Get about three cc down the pooch (25# dog), two to three times a day, for protein/calories until the intestinal tract has time to heal, so the puppy can eat. Put it in a syringe and gave it by mouth until appetite picks up normally or you can rub a little corn syrup on their gums for energy.

Please remember to always discuss this and anything else you read about on the web, in regards to medical treatments, with your vet before administering.  The above info is provided for the reader’s convenience to discuss with their vet and is not meant to be the sole treatment for Parvo.

²Veterinary Partner Home

Treatment with Tamiflu
Tamiflu has been used successfully by veterinarians, shelter workers and rescue groups to treat Parvo enteritis in thousands of dogs, cats and raccoons throughout the world. ¹

Tamiflu is the best Parvo treatment - not 100%, but very effective.  The EARLIER the treatment the GREATER the success, look for symptoms and do not delay. Tamiflu should never be used to treat any animal that does not test (+) using the fecal antigen test.


All of the guidelines for using Tamiflu have been developed in cases that have had a (+) fecal Parvo test. The first 48 hours are key in Tamiflu treatment. There is also an opinion that used as a preventive; Tamiflu might be given to exposed dogs.

Dogs exposed, but are not currently showing any clinical signs, should be given 1mg/lb. once a day for five days.

These exposed dogs, if they develop one or more signs (vomiting/bloody diarrhea/anorexia), then treatment should be changed so that they are given one mg/lb. every 12 hr. for a total of 10 treatments.

Tamiflu Dosing:
Generally, treatment is a 1mg/lb. dose of Tamiflu orally every 12 hours for 10 consecutive treatments. There is a direct relationship between clinical response and the time treatment is started.

Tamiflu should be given within 48 hrs. of onset of clinical signs, if no response after the first dose double to two mg/lb. for the second, third dose, etc. Dogs that vomit after being given oral Tamiflu can be given the same dose, as an enema.

If a dog requires IV need to start at least two mg/lb. or maybe four mg/lb. because if he is toxic enough to require IV support, it may be too late to use Tamiflu.

One 75 mg pill will do 10 doses for a seven and a half lb. puppy, doses at 1mg/lb.  Divide accordingly.  After making "lines" (use a knife or razor blade to divide) of the Tamiflu on a plate or smooth hard surface, for a single dose then mix with a dab of peanut butter (or maple syrup) in a small cup and place mixture on upper palate of mouth towards the back.  If showing severe symptoms add an antibiotic also, Metronidazole or amoxicillin orally.

ALSO limit fluids, pre-dose with Pepto (pediatric you want one without aspirin) to stop up loose stools and increase absorption in GI tract. In severe cases an anti-emetic and sub q fluids might be necessary. If dog foams at the mouth and vomits peanut butter mixture, switch to maple syrup or dose by enema. Use the Pepto (1/2 caplet or two to three cc's liquid) about 1/2 hour before Tamiflu if you suspect anything passing too quickly.  


 Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection better known as PARVO is a very serious virus that usually affects dogs under the age of two years old. We feel that anyone working with dogs of any breed or age should be aware of this virus and the preventive measures to reduce risks. We recommend you first contact your vet to veify use of any of the protocals above. There might be other health issues to consider.


What is Parvo? Canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a relatively new disease that first struck the canine population in 1978. 

Dogs under the age of two years old are the most at risk of becoming infected with Parvo.

PARVO, Keeping the virus from spreading