Canine Parvovirus Incubation Period

Canine parvovirus is a contagious and extremely dangerous disease in dogs. It is transmitted through direct contact with infected feces, vomit or with infected surfaces and soil. The virus has a high resistance and survives in the environment for a long time, having a high mortality rate in dogs. Puppies under 6 months old are most prone to catching this virus, therefore it is highly recommended to vaccinate your dog and check with your veterinarian for methods to prevent catching this disease.

Canine Parvovirus Incubation Period

The parvovirus is extremely resistant: it can survive in the environment up to 7 months adapting to various pH ranges and temperature changes. Once it is ingested, the parvovirus has a period of incubation of 3 to 7 days.

Usually, the virus is first eliminated in the feces on day 3 and the shedding continues for another 10 days. After 10 to 14 days, the dog might stop shedding the virus making it undetectable in the feces. Rarely, clinically infected dogs shed the virus periodically.

In the first stage, the infection is subclinical, that is, it does not exhibit any symptoms. This is why this infection is highly contagious: during the incubation period the dog is shedding the virus in the environment without displaying any symptoms and other dogs might get easily infected.

When ingested, the virus rapidly replicates in the lymphatic tissue spreading quickly in the bloodstream and throughout the body attacking internal organs, especially the intestines and the heart.

Symptoms of Canine Parvovirus Infection

Usually the symptoms of parvovirus infection appear within 5 to 10 days from the ingestion of the virus and consist of

  • Lethargy and depression
  • Vomiting and appetite loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Distinctive odor (in later stages of infection)

Usually the first symptom is lethargy followed by loss of appetite and vomiting. The main cause of death in infected dogs is dehydration or other secondary diseases it sets ground for rather than the virus itself.

It is important that you take action from the first symptoms since this is a condition that severely endangers your dog’s health. Treatment should be started as soon as possible.

Prevention of Parvovirus Infection

The success rate in treating this infection is not high. Basically, preventing this infection is the best way to maintain your dog healthy.

The virus is very strong and highly contagious and the only disinfectant killing it is bleach. Therefore, in order to protect your dog, it is best to vaccinate him as early as the protection given by maternal antibodies from his mother’s milk wears off. Young puppies are vaccinated in a series of doses. Puppies older than 16 weeks are usually vaccinated 3 to 4 weeks apart. When he grows up, it’s best to vaccinate your dog once a year.

The owner of an infected dog should notify neighbors and isolate the pet.