Treatment for Canine Parvovirus

Treatment for canine parvovirus is supportive and the goals are to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Because the disease progresses so quickly, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible.

In most cases, hospitalization is required. Treatment usually involves intravenous (IV) fluids, anti-nausea medications, and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. Infected dogs should be kept warm and away from other dogs and activity should be restricted.

Treatment for CPV is not always successful, even when it is started promptly. In dogs that recover from infection, improvement may be seen in 2 or 3 days.

Canine Parvovirus Prognosis

Puppies that are infected with CPV have a guarded prognosis (expected outcome). For dogs that receive prompt medical treatment and survive acute infection, the prognosis usually is good. Severe infection often has a poor outcome. Mortality is high in cardiac CPV and is about 10% in the more common, intestinal CPV. Following CPV infection, dogs may be contagious for up to 2 months.

Canine Parvovirus Prevention

Vaccination is recommended to prevent canine parvovirus. However, vaccination does not ensure protection from the disease in all cases. There are two types of vaccine available: inactivated and live. Puppies should be vaccinated at 8 weeks of age, and then every 3 or 4 weeks until 4 months of age. Puppies who are 16 weeks or older should receive 3 vaccinations, 3–4 weeks apart. It is important to make sure all dogs are up to date with immunizations.

Good hygiene is also important to prevent infection. CPV is a resilient virus and can live on some surfaces for more than a year. A bleach solution containing 1 part bleach and 30 parts water (1:30) is necessary to kill the virus.

Care should be exercised when exposing a puppy or dog to areas where other dogs congregate, such as parks, highway rest areas, obedience classes, kennels, and grooming facilities. Owners should prevent dogs from coming into contact with the feces of other dogs. Proper disposal of waste matter can help prevent the spread of CPV infection.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 03 Oct 2007

Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014