Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs

Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs
Photo by Bruce Warrington

If you are thinking about owning a puppy, you have undoubtedly heard and been warned about parvo.

Since parvo in dogs is a hot issue, you might be interested in knowing the symptoms of parvo in dogs.

The highly contagious canine parvovirus, also known as parvo, frequently affects puppies. However, the disease is also a threat to adult dogs that have not been vaccinated against it.

Parvo can be life-threatening, so knowing the prevention strategies, signs, and symptoms of parvo in dogs is important.

In this piece, we have the solutions you need if you want to reduce your concerns about your dog.

What Exactly is This Parvovirus?

Canine parvovirus is a disease that spreads swiftly and affects young, unvaccinated dogs. Some of the first dog cases and talks about canine parvovirus happened in the 1970s.

The virus may remain in the soil for a year, but your pet’s immune system can easily be affected by it.

A parvovirus-infected dog might be infectious within 4-5 days before symptoms manifest. Your dog will be contagious while sick and for about 10 days after he’s been treated.

Dogs can develop parvovirus if they breathe in infectious droppings or come into contact with a contaminated object or place.

The virus can live in a dirty environment for 6 months and spread to many animals.

Diagnosis or Test of Parvo in Dogs?

For dog lovers, parvo is a life-threatening disease for their pets. Still, you should know that a vet test is needed to determine if a dog has this condition.

Nevertheless, you should know that a veterinarian will perform two tests for your dog, and the two tests include:

  • Intestinal 
  • cardiac 


Young, unvaccinated dogs exhibiting the following symptoms may have parvovirus, especially if they were recently adopted from a shelter.

ELISA is good at detecting viral particles, although it may not be reliable early in an infection. Depending on the dog’s condition, the vet may suggest putting the dog in an animal hospital.


This parvovirus type is very rare, affecting puppies while they are still in the womb. This can cause stillbirth or death soon after birth.

There’s no method to cure this infection other than keeping the mother’s environment clean and avoiding infection sources.

8 Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs?

Canine parvovirus symptoms generally appear 5 to 7 days after exposure. However, parvovirus symptoms can also appear between 2 and 14 days after infection. 

As parvo therapy works best when identified early, here are some indicators to check for in your dog.

1. Constipation

Diarrhea is one of the most prevalent symptoms of parvo in dogs. Loosed poop can be caused by many things, like allergies, but it is especially worrying in puppies.

If a puppy or adult dog that hasn’t been vaccinated has diarrhea, it could mean that they have parvo. Use the Purina Fecal Score to explain your dog’s digestive difficulties and diarrhea to your vet.

After giving your pet an exam, your vet can tell if the symptoms are caused by parvo.

2. Laziness

Parvovirus can also cause your dog’s energy to drop, and lethargy can be a sign. If your usually active puppy seems less interested than usual, this could signify a health problem that hasn’t been found yet.

It’s normal for your dog to take a long nap after playing, but if he seems to have lost a lot of energy, you should take him to the vet. Remember that tiredness does not imply laziness.

Lethargy in dogs manifests as a delayed response to stimuli, acting out of character, less interest in things they normally like, and grogginess.

3. Obesity

If you observe a decline in your puppy’s diet or if they don’t appear interested in eating at all, this is always a cause for concern.

Dogs, especially developing pups, require a lot of nutrition, and a puppy that doesn’t eat might result in considerable weight loss or anorexia.

Parvovirus affects your pup’s gastrointestinal tract, making it difficult to eat and hold food down. However, there may be other contributing issues, so visit your vet if you are worried.

4. Fever

Another typical symptom of parvo in dogs is fever. The body responds to many ailments by raising its internal temperature.

Since the usual canine body temperature is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (F), anything beyond that range is certainly a fever.

Visual signs of a dog’s fever include red eyes, decreased energy, a dry nose, heated ears, coughing, and shaking.

Using a pet thermometer, you may check your dog’s temperature at home if you suspect they have a fever. 

When your dog has a fever, its immune system is fighting against a virus by raising its body temperature.

Therefore, if you notice that your puppy has a high temperature, you should take them to the doctor to rule out diseases and viruses like parvovirus.

5. Vomiting

In dogs, vomiting, like diarrhea, can indicate parvo. Some dogs have very sensitive stomachs, but vomiting, along with some other symptoms, can signify parvo infection.

Many things might cause your dog to vomit, but it’s essential to rule out sickness or the possibility that he ate something harmful or had a virus.

Young puppies that throw up might have parvovirus or other diseases to which they haven’t built immunity. So, take this sign carefully and manage it with caution.

6. Depression

It might be difficult to detect whether your dog is depressed because it can’t express itself or inform you about its problems!

Knowing how to recognize sadness in dogs is the next best thing to them informing you. A dog with parvo may act sad because one of the symptoms of being sick is feeling bad.

Knowing how to recognize sadness in dogs is the next best thing to them informing you. A dog with parvo may exhibit depressive behavior as one of the side effects of feeling unwell.

Paying attention to body language, tiredness, a drop in appetite, or other substantial changes in behavior might imply your puppy has the blues.

If you suspect your puppy is depressed, you should always visit a veterinarian so that any medical concerns may be ruled out.

7. Dehydration

Water is essential for a dog’s existence, and we’ve all heard the sound of a dog slurping at its water bowl.

Dehydration happens when the body does not acquire enough water to a harmful level and loses more than it replenishes.

Since dogs can’t talk and tell us when they’re thirsty, you can do some tests at home to find out. 

To begin with, you may test your dog’s skin elasticity by gently tugging the skin on their backs between their shoulders. If it returns to normal, your pet is most likely getting adequate fluids.

However, if the skin appears to be having difficulties returning to its usual position, your dog may be dehydrated.

The second test involves inspecting your dog’s gums. Your puppy’s gums should be wet, and if you gently touch them, the color should temporarily become white before returning to normal. If not, this might indicate that they are dehydrated.

When a dog becomes infected with parvo, the virus spreads to its intestines, causing inflammation. The virus’s irritation and intestinal bleeding make it hard to eat, causing vomiting.

Dehydration is a puppy is a medical emergency since it increases the risk that the dog may go into septic shock and die if you don’t treat it immediately. 

8. Septic Shock

If treatment is not received, parvo can develop rapidly, and symptoms can get severe. Septic shock is one of the most concerning signs of parvo in dogs.

Septic shock happens when the body is overwhelmed by an infection. When parvo penetrates your dog’s digestive system, it can cause intestinal inflammation and bleeding.

Due to the damage to the intestines, the infection may enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.

When septic shock occurs, it can be difficult to treat, so see a vet as soon as you suspect parvo. Hypothermia, tachycardia, and a low or weak pulse are all symptoms of septic shock. 

When Should You See a Vet?

Now that you know the answers to your “what are the symptoms of parvo in dogs?” concerns in this piece.

Then, you may be wondering when you should take your dog to the doctor if you suspect they’ve caught it.

If your puppy has any of these symptoms or has been around another dog with parvo, take them to the doctor immediately.

They can give you peace of mind and guidance on safeguarding your pet if the test is negative.

If your puppy has parvovirus, bringing them in as soon as possible will help save their lives and get them the medical attention they require.

As soon as you suspect or know your puppy has parvo, confine him and let people know if he’s had any playmates.

Note: Parvo may not always appear immediately, but if left untreated, the signs and symptoms may appear to grow and worsen swiftly.

Infected dogs will begin to show indications of sickness following the disease’s incubation period, which is around 5-7 days after getting the virus.

Any of the indicators described above can be used to identify a dog suffering from parvo.

Knowing the symptoms of parvo in dogs might help you determine whether your dog is suffering from an illness or virus.

If your dog is losing weight, eating less, and looking weary, see a veterinarian immediately.

Breeds of Dogs That Are More Susceptible to Parvo?

Young pups aged 6 weeks to 6 months (before they may receive the CPV vaccination) and unvaccinated dogs are the most vulnerable to parvovirus infection.

Some breeds are more susceptible to parvovirus infection, including:

  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman Pinscher dogs
  • Pit Bull Terriers in America
  • Springer Spaniels from England
  • German Shepherd Puppies


A new puppy means plenty of playtime and enjoyment, but it also means that you need to take all reasonable precautions to keep your new best buddy safe and healthy.

Preventative actions, as well as understanding the symptoms of parvo in dogs, will help to guarantee that you and your pet have a lot more enjoyable experience in the future!

Remember, if you see any symptoms or suspect that your dog has been exposed to the virus, take him to the doctor right away.

A conversation in Dutch can put you in touch with a qualified veterinarian so you can give your pet the care it requires without having to leave the house.

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