Skip to main content

How Contagious is Parvo?

How Contagious is Parvo?

Q (Question): We had a German wirehaired pointer puppy 15 months ago that died of parvovirus within a week after we got her. We bleached the area she used outside, bleached the carrier, burnt the bedding, and cleaned the carpet and furniture.

Although we have the chance to get another bird dog, we are afraid. Is it safe? This pup is three months old and has had three series of the 7-in-1 puppy shots, and is happy and healthy with her littermates. Just as a little more info, we also have three adult dogs living at the same place, all vaccinated and healthy. --NM

A (Answer): Getting and maintaining a healthy puppy is a major problem for any dog owner and must be handled as a cooperative venture among the new pup owner, the breeder and their veterinarians. While parvo is not caused by parasites, it is important that the pup be as free of intestinal parasites as possible so the gut is healthy and able to ward off the parvovirus. Also, good nutrition is important not only for the growth of the pup, but also for the development of the immune system, again to ward off the parvovirus.

Cleaning and disinfection are OK, but for the most part they are "feel good" exercises. A cup of Clorox to a gallon of water is a good viracidal agent, but it only works on nonporous surfaces free of organic matter. You cannot do much about the yard except let time take care of it. Your older dogs can carry the virus and shed it without showing symptoms, but again, time should take care of that.


I would concentrate more on the pup's immune status. I'm not a believer in these multivalent vaccines that you mentioned. I think they really overload the young dog's immune system, and I like to concentrate on the two diseases that can kill your dog: parvo and distemper.


To accomplish this, I give a distemper/parvo vaccination at six weeks, a parvo booster at nine weeks, a distemper/parvo booster at 12 weeks and, finally, a distemper/parvo booster at 16 weeks of age. Part of the basis for this schedule is that the immune system of the pup is not able to respond to its maximum until 16 weeks of age.

Now that you are looking at a 13-week-old pup, you need a plan that will get it into your house with the best chance of surviving. I would do the following: Have the breeder take the pup into their veterinarian and draw a blood sample to send in to Cornell University's Animal Health Diagnostic Lab for titers on both distemper and parvovirus. This will help clarify the pup's risk level.

Also consider leaving the pup with the breeder until it is vaccinated at 16 weeks, and then give it another 10 days to develop an immune response to the vaccine. I don't like the latter suggestion very well, however, because I feel puppies should go to their new homes when they are seven to eight weeks of age.

The obvious question that this last comment brings is, doesn't such a young pup have even more vulnerability? Probably not. The young pup is protected by the passive immunity it receives from its mother's milk, and this immunity can last up to 10 to 12 weeks of age.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 8

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 9

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 2

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

Gun Dog: Shed Antler Training 6

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Persistent myths related to dog health have lingered too long.Busting 5 Common Gun Dog Medical Myths Health & Nutrition

Busting 5 Common Gun Dog Medical Myths

Seth Bynum, DVM

Persistent myths related to dog health have lingered too long.

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dogYour Pup's First Year Puppies

Your Pup's First Year

Bob West - September 23, 2010

A step-by-step analysis on what to expect from your dog

Deep frying is a great way to maintain moisture in game birds that tend to dry.Southern Fried Grouse & Quail Recipe Recipes

Southern Fried Grouse & Quail Recipe

Brad Fenson

Deep frying is a great way to maintain moisture in game birds that tend to dry.

Kyle Wintersteen does a dog breed comparison on Chessies and Labs. See how these two breeds stack up.Dog Breed Comparison: Chessies vs. Labs Profiles

Dog Breed Comparison: Chessies vs. Labs

Kyle Wintersteen

Kyle Wintersteen does a dog breed comparison on Chessies and Labs. See how these two breeds...

See More Trending Articles

More Health & Nutrition

A World Champion sled-dog racer and veterinarian discusses how vital, and fun, conditioning is for your bird dog. Conditioning Tips from a Sled-Dog Champion Health & Nutrition

Conditioning Tips from a Sled-Dog Champion

Dave Carty

A World Champion sled-dog racer and veterinarian discusses how vital, and fun, conditioning is...

Follow these tips to keep your pup healthy throughout summer training and early season hunts.How to Keep Your Bird Dog Hydrated & Cool Health & Nutrition

How to Keep Your Bird Dog Hydrated & Cool

Tom Dokken

Follow these tips to keep your pup healthy throughout summer training and early season hunts.

Here's how to look for this hidden danger after a day in the field.How to Inspect Your Dog for Grass Awns In the Field

How to Inspect Your Dog for Grass Awns

Bob West

Here's how to look for this hidden danger after a day in the field.

See More Health & Nutrition

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Gun Dog subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now