What Does Parvo Poop Look Like?

Parvovirus is a serious illness that many young pups fall victim to. With having the ability to cause such severe symptoms, it’s important to catch the condition early on. So is there a way to distinguish parvo poop from normal poop?

In this article we will discuss the details of Parvo in our canine companions, and help you understand what Parvo poop may look like.

What Is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus is a contagious illness that wreaks havoc on a dog’s GI tract. Parvovirus attacks the cells within the intestinal lining, leading to an array of severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Puppies and young dogs are most vulnerable to the condition, and can become gravely ill without proper treatment.

Parvovirus can be transmitted by direct contact with infected vomit or stool, or by direct contact with a contaminated surface. Not only is Parvo extremely contagious, but it can also survive in the environment for extended periods of time. Some experts believe this virus can survive in the soil for up to 3 years (source), so it’s a serious threat to our canine friends.

There are two strains of Parvovirus in dogs, but both are prevented with proper vaccination. Puppies require a series of preventative vaccines when you first welcome them into your life, along with yearly boosters to follow.

Signs & Symptoms Of Parvovirus In Dogs

Parvovirus causes serious damage to a dog’s intestinal tract, leading to a list of troubling GI complications. Some of the most common signs of Parvo in dogs include: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Gas
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Hypoglycemia, potentially progressing to seizures
  • Extreme weakness
  • Collapse

Most dogs will display their first sign of illness within 3-7 days of being exposed to the Parvovirus. Fast detection is essential for a full recovery, as a dog can succumb to the illness within days if they do not receive proper care.

What Does Parvo Poop Look Like

What Does Parvo Poop Look Like?

The appearance of parvo poop can range from dog to dog, but there are a few characteristics to watch for.

Parvovirus causes severe GI upset, leading to liquid diarrhea in most cases. The diarrhea may be brown in color to begin with, but will often have a red hue as the condition progresses. Bloody diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of Parvo in puppies, as their intestinal tract undergoes so much damage.

Does Parvo Poop Have A Specific Smell?

If you ask any pet owner that had a puppy with Parvovirus, they will likely tell you about how pungent their diarrhea was. Parvo poop is known to be extremely foul, and has a signature scent that often sticks with you. Many believe that the presence of blood in the stool is responsible for the intense odor, but it resembles an intense rotting scent.

Poop appearance and smell is not a way to ever diagnose Parvo, but it can certainly let you know that something serious is going on. If your dog is experiencing any of the symptoms that we have discussed, it’s time to visit your veterinarian.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Parvo?

If you think your dog may have Parvo, it is time to take them to the vet for a Parvo test. The only way to definitively diagnose the condition is through this diagnostic, which is performed by testing a small sample of stool.

Aside from performing a Parvo test with your vet, your pup will also require medical care to help them combat their severe symptoms. Most puppies will need IV fluids, nausea medications, diarrhea medications, and even more aggressive care if they are already severely ill.

Most puppies will not survive this virus if they do not receive proper care, making it so important to act fast.

Puppy With Parvovirus Getting an IV

When To See The Vet

If your dog is ever experiencing GI symptoms, it’s always best to have them seen from the moment their symptoms begin. Puppies can become severely dehydrated when experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, especially if they are turning away food or water. Early detection is the key to offering your pup the best chance at a full recovery.

As you can see, Parvo poop has a signature appearance and odor that can never be ignored. If you believe your puppy has parvo, call your local veterinarian immediately to get help.

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