The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that was first described in the early 1970s. CPV is an acute, highly contagious disease of dogs The virus has a tendency to attack rapidly reproducing cells, such as those lining the gastrointestinal tract and is shed in large amounts in the stools of acutely infected dogs for up to several weeks following infection. . The virus manifests itself in two different forms. The more common form is the intestinal form, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite (anorexia). The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death. The majority of cases are seen in puppies that are between six weeks and six months old. The disease is transmitted by oral contact with infected feces. Parvo can be carried on the dog’s hair and feet, as well as on contaminated crates, shoes, and other objects. When the dog licks the fecal material off hair, feet, or anything that came in contact with infected feces, he acquires the disease.
Symptoms:The major symptoms associated with the intestinal form of a canine parvovirus infection include severe, bloody diarrhea, lethargy, depression, fever, vomiting and severe weight loss. The intestinal form of CPV affects the body's ability to absorb nutrients, and an affected animal will quickly become dehydrated and weak from lack of protein and fluid absorption. Parvo affects dogs of all ages, but most cases occur in puppies 6 to 20 weeks of age. The wet tissue of the mouth and eyes may become noticeably red and the heart may beat too rapidly. When your veterinarian palpates (examine by touch) your dog’s abdominal area, your dog may respond with pain or discomfort. Dogs that have contracted CPV may also have a low body temperature hypothermia rather than a fever.