Preventing the Spread of Parvovirus  

| May 27, 2022

New puppies can be a fun addition to the family, bringing laughter and excitement. But along with a new puppy comes significant responsibility, including veterinary care.  

Despite widespread vaccination, diseases such as parvovirus are still present in the dog population. The most effective way to protect your new puppy from contracting preventable diseases is to provide them with their core vaccines.  

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus. The virus is shed in dog feces and can spread to other dogs through direct contact or contact with contaminated surfaces.  

Parvovirus can contaminate everything in the environment and transmit it — hands, clothes, collars, leashes, bowls, surfaces, shoes, and even dogs’ feet and hair.   

Unvaccinated puppies should be kept away from other dogs until a week after they have received their first vaccine and can then have contact with other healthy dogs in a safe setting. The American Association of Veterinary Behaviorists emphasizes the importance of puppy socialization and does not recommend waiting until the vaccine series is complete before attending socialization classes and exposing pups to the world around them. 

Signs of Parvovirus

If your dog contracts parvovirus, they may display lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, which can be bloody. 

Parvovirus can be fatal if it is not treated. If you suspect your dog has parvovirus, do not delay in seeking veterinary care.  

Diagnosis is usually quick and straightforward. It involves a fecal test to confirm the diagnosis.  


In many cases your vet will recommend hospitalization for IV fluids, IV antibiotics, and close monitoring. This can be costly due to the intensive nature of the care. Parvovirus patients need 24-hour care and must be kept in isolation and monitored constantly to ensure that they are improving. An outpatient treatment protocol has been successfully used and is appropriate for less severe cases. 

Get Your Core Vaccines

The good news is that parvovirus is almost 100% preventable with routine vaccinations.  

All puppies and dogs that have been adopted from Toronto Humane Society have received their vaccines, but if you’ve recently brought home a puppy or dog that isn’t up to date on their vaccines or hasn’t completed their puppy vaccines, you can book a Public Veterinary Services appointment with us here.