For all of us who love dogs, the fear of parvo is real, because it’s a deadly, difficult to treat and highly contagious disease. Canine parvovirus type 2, or CPV-2, is an infection that attacks the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of both domesticated and wild puppies and adult dogs.
The virus damages intestinal crypt cells, which results in increased gut permeability and profuse, bloody diarrhea.In addition to the GI effects of parvo, in very young and unborn puppies, the virus can damage the heart muscle as well. Parvo is passed by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with infected feces, environments and people.
The virus can contaminate everything a dog touches: food and water bowls, collars and leashes — even the humans who handle the dog and their clothing.Parvo also happens to be a very resilient virus that can survive extremes in temperature and humidity levels. It lives in the environment for long periods of time.
Even tiny amounts of parvo-infected stool can contaminate an area and transmit the disease to other dogs entering the area. Parvo can be easily spread from one location to another on a dog’s hair or feet, on a contaminated pet carrier and on shoes and other objects.