Can A Dog Get Parvo Twice (More Than Once)?

Parvo is a deadly virus that can deeply impact the furry friends in our lives.

Parvo requires an aggressive treatment plan to offer a dog recovery, and sometimes even this is not enough to save them.

If your dog has made it through parvo, you may assume that they can never catch the infectious illness again.

While this is the case for most puppies, it cannot be ruled out completely.

In this article we will discuss why there is a small chance that dogs can get parvo twice or more than once, and how you can best protect your pup from this deadly virus in the future.

Can A Dog Get Parvo Twice

What Is Parvovirus In Dogs?

Parvovirus in dogs is a devastating gastrointestinal illness that can wreak havoc on a young dog’s health.

This infectious illness invades the lining of the digestive tract, causing significant damage to the stomach and small intestine.

Parvovirus in dogs prevents the absorption of nutrients, destroys the cells in the digestive tissues, and even invades the lymphatic tissues.

Because of this process, the condition is almost always fatal if a dog does not receive treatment.

Parvovirus is highly contagious, and can easily spread from dog to dog.

The virus is spread through direct contact with other infected dogs, as well as contact with contaminated surfaces.

Part of what makes the virus so dangerous is the fact that it can survive on a surface for 3-4 years.

This means that until the virus is eliminated with proper sanitation, so many furry friends can be exposed.

The most at risk dogs are those that are 6 weeks to 8 months of age, but dogs of any age can technically fall victim to the virus.

This is why it is so important to keep your dog up to date on their routine vaccines until your vet states otherwise.

What Are The Signs Of Parvo In Dogs?

With parvo having the most significant impact on a dog’s digestive tract, most infected dogs will present with severe GI upset.

The severity of parvo can range from pup to pup, but there are some standard symptoms that you can expect to see if your dog falls ill.

Some of the most common signs of parvo in puppies and dogs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Bloody vomit
  • Lethargy
  • Extreme weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Trembling
  • Muscle twitches
  • Ataxia
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Collapse

Most dogs that are exposed to parvo will develop symptoms within 3-10 days of their initial contact.

These symptoms can progress quickly, leading to life threatening dehydration within 12-24 hours of their symptoms beginning.

If a parvo positive dog does not seek treatment immediately, their chances at survival will drastically decrease each day.

When a dog does not receive proper medical care, the mortality rate is at 91%.

Can You Treat Parvo In Dogs?

Treating parvo in dogs involves restoring the fluids they have lost, preventing more fluid loss through nausea and diarrhea control, and preventing any secondary infections from developing.

There is no set cure when it comes to treating parvovirus, but rather stabilizing them and addressing their current GI symptoms.

The most effective treatment method for parvo involves hospitalization on IV fluids, injectable medications for nausea and diarrhea control, injectable antibiotics to prevent systemic infection, and tailored nutritional support.

If the dog has improved within 72 hours and is responding to veterinary care, this is a wonderful sign for their prognosis.

These pups will also be sent home with GI medications to continue for up to 10 days, as it can take some time for the digestive tract to heal.

It’s important to note that every case of parvo is different, so there is no concrete timeline when it comes to parvo recovery times.

Can A Dog Survive Parvo?

If a dog receives veterinary care from the moment symptoms are noted, dogs can certainly survive their parvo infection.

The survival rate for dogs receiving parvo treatment is anywhere from 68%-92%, but this only refers to those who receive the gold standard of care.

Inadequate treatment or delayed treatment time can cause these survival numbers to drop significantly.

How Long Does Parvo Immunity Last?

If your dog has already survived a parvo infection, you may be wondering how long they will be immune to the virus going forward.

Many pet owners believe their dog will be protected against parvo for the rest of their lives, but this is not necessarily true.

In general, most experts believe that parvo immunity from a previous infection will last a minimum of 20 months.

Some dogs will have a natural immunity to the parvo disease for the rest of their lives, but the 20 month minimum seems to be the case for dogs across the board.

It’s important to note that many factors play a role in this standard time frame, so this information is not set in stone.

Can A Dog Get Parvo Twice?

While it is extremely rare, it is theoretically possible for a dog to get parvo twice.

There is an incredibly small percentage of dogs that are unable to produce an immune response against the deadly virus, so these pups technically could catch the virus again if they are exposed.

However, it’s important to note that if a dog is unable to produce an immune response against parvo, they would not likely survive the initial infection to begin with.

At the end of the day it is possible for a dog to get parvo twice, but it is extremely unlikely.

Most canine parvo survivors will have a natural immunity to the virus for quite some time, only further strengthened by the routine vaccines that your vet will recommend once they recover.

Why Would A Dog Get Parvo Twice?

The chance of your dog getting parvo twice is extremely low, but there are some factors that may increase the possibility.

To help you better understand why a dog could get parvo twice, let’s look at some of the most immune compromising factors below.

Lack Of Vaccines

There are many differing opinions about this, but most experts still suggest vaccinating your dog with their core vaccines once they recover from parvo.

Parvo is everywhere in the world around our furry friends, so it’s always best to make sure they have ample protection.

Mutated Strains

Just like any other virus, parvovirus can mutate.

There is always a risk of your dog coming in contact with a different strain than they had before, introducing the risk of them becoming ill again.

While this is still considered rare, it is still possible.

Compromised Immune Systems

Dogs with a compromised immune system are more at risk of catching infectious illness than their other furry friends.

If your dog sustained long term digestive damage from their initial parvo infection, then they may be more at risk of catching a contagious GI illness again.

Should You Vaccinate Your Dog If They Already Had Parvo?

Every situation varies, but most veterinary professionals will suggest following through with routine vaccines even when they have already had parvo.

Not only will you want to protect them against the risk of catching the virus again, but there are other infectious illnesses that they will require protection from as well.

Most core vaccines also protect against deadly infections like distemper and adenovirus, and their previous parvo infection will not offer any immunity to these diseases.

Final Thoughts

Most dogs will not need to worry about catching parvo twice, but it is a risk that can never be ruled out.

To best protect your pup in the future, we suggest following your vet’s vaccine guidance going forward.

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