Q & A: Who can contract parvovirus?

Q: Before I pick up my new puppy, I want to know which animals are susceptible to parvovirus?

A: Any animal of any age and breed can get infected with parvovirus if he has not been vaccinated against the disease, but it is most commonly seen in puppies from six weeks to six months of age.

Predisposing factors for parvovirus infection in puppies include lack of protective immunity (not vaccinated), unsanitary and overcrowded environments, diet changes, weaning and intestinal parasites.

There are a few breeds that are more susceptible to getting the disease due to their genetics – these are the black-and-tan dogs like Rottweilers and Dobermanns, American Pit Bull Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Alaskan sled dogs.

Parvovirus is abundant in the environment and it is resilient, so it will persist there for long periods of time, up to seven months. Therefore, any susceptible animal can (and will very likely) come into contact with the virus in the environment at any time and become infected.

Dr Vanessa Mcclure, veterinarian

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