Parvovirus has claimed many lives of many dogs. It is shed through the stools and when a dog has been infected, even if he survives the deadly disease, he will continue shedding the virus in his stool for several weeks after recovery. This means that parvo is out there, lurking, virtually everywhere. How long can that virus survive without a host? We’ll explore what happens to the virus outside of a body.
What is Parvo?
This is a highly contagious virus that affects dogs of any age who don’t have immunity to the virus. Young puppies are most vulnerable, especially unvaccinated puppies. Parvo causes bloody diarrhea, fever, water stools, vomiting, hypothermia and can lead to death.
Parvo can kill a dog within 72 hours of showing the first symptoms. Veterinary care must be sought quickly. Doctors will attempt to keep your dog hydrated, boost them with Vitamin C, anti-diarrhea medication and an anti nausea treatment that will help them keep food down.
Some dogs will need IV fluids, it simply depends on how progressed the virus is and how sick they are. Dogs have very good chances of survival with early intervention from a veterinarian. Treatment is essential and it must happen right away.
How is it Transferred?
Parvo is a very resilient and strong virus. It’s hard to kill. It survives in hard environments. A puppy can contract the virus indirectly by coming into contact with bedding, carpet, and soil that have been contaminated with the virus from another dog.
This makes it extremely difficult to guard against. Vaccinations for parvo are available but it takes three sets of boosters over the course of several weeks for puppies to develop immunity. It’s very important to not expose them to places where other dogs may have carried the virus.
Dog parks, pet stores and other places that people frequent with their dogs should be off limits until a few weeks after your puppy has received his last boost shots.
A dog that has been infected with Parvovirus begins to shed the virus in their stool approximately five days after contracting the virus. Sometimes they are not showing symptoms of illness yet. In fact, a vaccinated adult dog may never show any symptoms and be spreading the virus.
Hot weather and cold weather do not do anything to kill parvo when it has been shed into the soil. It will simply lay dormant until the right weather at the right time. It can survive outside in the ground and inside in your home. It can survive virtually anywhere.
Outside of a host, the parvovirus will live for two or more months. It may live shorter than that indoors and longer than that outdoors.
If your dog has contracted parvo, it’s best to replace bedding and things that cannot be bleached. Bowls, toys and things that can be bleached should be soaked in a bleach solution for at least thirty minutes.
Getting rid of parvo in your yard and garden is more difficult and not full-proof. You’ll want to purchase a parvo killing solution and use it in outdoor areas as recommended. There are several good products on the market and your veterinarian can recommend one for you.
Cleaning Your Home
Clean the laundry room first, very thoroughly. You will bring all the bedding and blankets from places your dog has touched and had any contact with. It all needs to be washed. Wash all the bedding, sheets and clothing in the house as well. Use the parvo disinfecting treatment that your vet recommended that you use.
Stack all the clean laundry in the laundry room and now begin to clean the rest of the house, one room at a time. Go through each room and sanitize everything. Yes, this is a horrible chore and not one that anyone looks forward to, but it is very necessary.
Once the entire home has been cleaned, you may put laundry back where it belongs and then treat your yard, garage and outdoor spaces that your dog has been.
House Rules From Now On – Being Safe
Do not allow any unvaccinated dogs into your home from now on. No visits from unvaccinated dogs and no new dogs that haven’t already been vaccinated. Do not expose puppies to places that other dogs go to until full immunity from shots has been achieved.
Don’t allow kids to pet other dogs and then come home to touch your dog. They need to wash and use sanitizer on their hands so that there is no risk of bringing home any hitchhiking viruses. It may seem like a lot of overkill, but parvo is a killer and it is hard to kill and get rid of this virus. You don’t want it or need it in your life.
Facts You’ve Learned
Parvo is very hard to kill and very easy to contract. It is spread for many days before some dogs show symptoms of having the virus and some dogs never show any symptoms at all. This makes it far too easy for the virus to be spread.
When a dog has successfully survived a battle with parvo, he will still be shedding the virus in his stool for several weeks. It isn’t safe to take him out in public until he has stopped shedding the virus. A fecal done by a veterinarian is the only way to know for sure when shedding has stopped.
Puppies are most susceptible to parvo and shouldn’t go out in public or to places where other dogs are until they have had a chance to build full immunity, which is typically at least a week to ten days after their last set of booster shots.
Bleach can kill parvo, but you can’t bleach everything in your home. You’ll have to steam clean carpets with a parvo-killing agent that is available to you through your veterinarian or online.
You’ll have to clean each room in your home and your yard too. Parvo will live in all conditions, indoors and outdoors for as long as three months. Take all necessary precautions and be safe with your dog.
Laura Barnes is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.