What Every Dog Owner Should Know About Parvo

Los Angeles, CA — Scientifically, Canine Parvovirus or parvo, consists of a single strand of DNA, yet this simple organism can be complex, confounding, and quite deadly. Like most effective viruses, parvo is exceptional at infecting quickly, is resilient, and difficult to remove from surfaces. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) encourages all dog owners to be aware of the potential deadliness of this contagious disease and protect their dogs with age-appropriate and timely vaccinations (DA2PPV).

spcaLA, as a leader in animal housing, maintains strict protocols to prevent disease transmission, of all types, for the hundreds of dogs in its care. Last year, spcaLA spent over 4 million dollars on the care of shelter pets, including in-house veterinary treatments and disease-prevention, as well as over two-hundred thousand for outside professional services.

Parvo is a highly infectious and potentially fatal disease and can be transmitted between dogs through bodily secretion. It is not zoonotic, meaning that it cannot be transmitted to humans. Though parvo presents most often in puppies or adolescent dogs, it can infect adult dogs as well. A dog can contract parvo, but take 4-7 days to test positive for the disease and exhibit symptoms. Parvo symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration. Recently, in Orange County, a fraudulent rescue came to light when an underage puppy was adopted and presented with parvo.

“You should give parvo the same respect you’d give Polio,” said spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein. “Parvo can kill one dog and spare another. It spreads like wildfire.”

Treatment focuses on supportive care, but despite a veterinarian’s best efforts and thousands of dollars, the animal may or may not survive. The best way to protect your dog is keep the DA2PPV vaccine current.

The risk of infection is highest when large groups of unvaccinated dogs are housed together in close confinement. Not only can parvo be spread from dog to dog, it can be transmitted through surfaces, such as kennel floors, toys, food dishes, collars and leashes, feces, and the hands and clothing of people who handle an infected dog.

Make sure that your groomer, boarding facility, or anywhere dogs gather requires proof of current vaccines. Adopt your dog from a reputable source.

If you are unsure if your dog has received DA2PPV or is current on his vaccines, or presents with symptoms, please see a veterinarian immediately.

For more information, please contact Ana Bustilloz at 323-730-5300 x252, cell 323-707-1271 or abustilloz@spcaLA.com.

Since 1877, spcaLA has been the premiere independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California. There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA. Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services.