Austin Pets Alive! Parvo Wiki
This wiki provides a way for members of the Austin Pets Alive! Parvo ICU Team to publish and maintain documentation on our Parvo treatment procedures and protocols, as well as to aid in the training of those new to the team.
Feel free to use our protocols and procedures in developing your own shelter's Parvo Program. All dosages and treatment guidelines are not meant to be used without veterinary support. We recommend that all people interested in treating parvo patients work with a licensed veterinarian to be sure that this works for your program.
For more information on Austin Pets Alive!, please visit our website at austinpetsalive.org.
If you would like to volunteer with the Parvo Team or would like to learn more about volunteering, please check out our medical and care team volunteer expectations and look for the opportunities on your volunteer account.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Canine Parvovirus?
Please visit What is Canine Parvovirus? for details.
What is the APA! Parvo ICU?
See What is the APA! Parvo ICU? for details.
The APA! Parvo ICU is not a public intake shelter. If possible, please contact your veterinarian if your puppy is ill.
If you have a sick puppy, please do not walk it on our campus. One of our veterinarians can come out to your vehicle and assess how ill the puppy is. It is very important that your puppy stays in your vehicle while at APA! to prevent the potential spread of the disease. If the vet is confident the pup isn't in critical condition, they usually sign off on at-home treatment. You will be asked to reach out to us for further treatment if the pup is still symptomatic after three days of treatment. You can decide to surrender the puppy if they continue to decline, or you can purchase more treatment if needed.
If I volunteer in the ICU, are my pets at home at risk of getting parvo?
The best protection against parvo is vaccination. We recommend all dogs at home be fully vaccinated against parvo if you choose to volunteer in the ICU. As long as you adhere to the Parvo ICU decontamination guidelines and appropriately scrub in and out, you will not need to worry about infecting your pets at home.
All volunteers entering the Parvo ICU will be required to scrub in and out. This includes changing into scrubs and non-street shoes and leaving all unnecessary items outside of the ICU. Parvo is an incredibly "sticky" disease and can contaminate clothing and other items. We do not want parvo to spread outside of the ICU.
How can I donate to the APA! Parvo ICU?
Thank you! You can donate money online or in person at one of the APA! adoptions sites.
Donations can be labeled "For Parvo" and dropped off in front of Building C or shipped to:
Austin Pets Alive! Parvo ICU
1156 W Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78703
Perishable donations like deli meat can be brought into the APA! Medical Clinic, in Building C.
I think my dog has Parvo. What should I do?
Take your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Parvo is a serious disease that kills 90% of untreated dogs. The information on this website may help you understand how Parvo works and how we treat it, but it is not a substitute for veterinary care.
Will my dog die if he/she gets Parvo?
This is a very serious disease. Some puppies infected with parvovirus will die despite prompt and adequate treatment. While no extremely accurate statistics are available, a good guess is probably that 80-90% of puppies treated for parvovirus will live. Without treatment, probably 90% or more of the infected puppies would die.
Due to the high death rate, parvovirus gets a lot of publicity. Many people just assume that any case of diarrhea in a dog is from parvovirus. This is not true. There are a lot of other diseases and disorders that lead to diarrhea. However, if you have a puppy, don't take any chances. Have your puppy examined by your vet if diarrhea is a factor in any disease. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. If your dog becomes infected with parvovirus and makes it through the first three to four days, he will usually make a rapid recovery, and be back on his feet within a week. It is vital; however, that he receives supportive therapy immediately. It must be stressed that this is not a bad case of doggy flu - without medical treatment, most puppies die.
How can I prevent my dog from getting Parvo?
Vaccinate your dog! The parvo vaccine is widely available, usually as a combination shot with the distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), and parainfluenza vaccines. Puppies should be vaccinated about every 3 weeks beginning at 6 weeks of age until about 20 weeks of age. Because the mother's antibodies can sometimes interfere with the vaccine, puppies need to receive it several times to ensure they are protected. Do not allow you dog to go anywhere she might contact other dogs until she is fully vaccinated, especially dog parks, pet stores, kennels, or groomers.
How do I prevent the spread of Parvo?
The surest way to avoid parvo infection in your dog is to adhere to the recommended vaccination schedule which begins when puppies are 6-8 weeks of age. Puppies should not be allowed to socialize with other dogs or frequent areas where other dogs have been until 2 weeks after they have had their last vaccination. Immunization for parvo is usually included in your dog's distemper vaccine. This shot gives protection against several potentially fatal canine diseases all at the same time.
If your pet becomes infected, please keep in mind that dogs with parvo shed the virus in their feces and are extremely contagious to other dogs. Follow these recommendations to help prevent the spread of this disease.
No more unvaccinated dogs (they must be at least 16-20 weeks old to be fully vaccinated) in the home. While disinfecting will reduce the concentration of the virus in your home, there is no way to know if the virus has been complete erradicated. Bringing another unvaccinated dog into the home will most likely cause them to become sick.
Keep the infected dog isolated from all other dogs for at least one month after full recovery.
Clean up all the dog's stools in your yard.
Use a 1:30 ratio of chlorine bleach and water to clean food and water bowls (4 oz. in 1 gallon of water). Wash any bedding the dog has been in contact with using this bleach solution and hot water. You should also try to disinfect any other areas where the dog has been, like linoleum, concrete kennels, crates, etc. You will need to wash all clothes which came into contact with the dog with 1 cup of bleach. All shoes worn also need to be washed with bleach. If you have any other dogs that are two years old or younger, or who have never been vaccinated for Parvo, please bring them in for a booster as soon as possible.
What if I've got Parvo in my home?
If you have had parvo in your home, use the bleach/water solution to kill it. Soak the yard with it -- better to kill the grass than infect another dog! Be careful using it on carpets and fabrics, though. Parvo can live many years in your home or yard. Before you bring home another dog, be sure it has a strong immunity to parvo. You can have a veterinarian draw blood and run a titer to find out how well your prospective dog will fare in a parvo-infected environment. Adult dogs generally have a higher resistance than puppies do, but they need to be kept current on their vaccines. If in doubt, have your vet do the titer.
Are some breeds more susceptible than others?
For some reason, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, black Labrador Retrievers and other black and tan breeds are especially prone to parvo and seem to succumb to Parvo faster and with less chance of recovery than any other breed. If you have one of these breeds, it's even more important to make certain your puppy or dog gets immunized properly. But these breeds are not alone -- the Parvovirus can affect all breeds.
Where can I get more information on Parvo?
There is a lot of information floating around the internet about parvo. Some of it is incomplete, some outdated, some designed to sell you useless "remedies," and some flat-out wrong. We have found the following resources to be useful:
Veterinary Partner's Parvovirus Information Center has a great deal of quality information about parvo and its articles cover several different topics including the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and history of parvo. The articles are written for pet owners and explain parvo in good depth without requiring prior medical knowledge.
The Merck Veterinary Manual was written as an aid to veterinarians. Its discussion of parvo is detailed and technical and includes information on the disease process, specific treatment recommendations, and outcomes.
I am part of a rescue organization and I want to start a parvo program. Can you help?
While the primary purpose of this website is as a reference and training tool for our own volunteers, it is also a great resource for other programs. Feel free to use any of our protocols. A good place to start is the Medical Trainee Curriculum for background followed by everything in the Procedures, Protocols, and Checklists section. Austin Pets Alive! also hosts the American Pets Alive! conference, where there is a presentation about starting your own Parvo ICU. They have a PDF about the things you need to start a parvo ward. If you have specific questions about starting or running a parvo ward, contact the Parvo ICU Team Manager at email@example.com.
Please keep in mind that this website is not a substitute for a veterinarian and that you will need to work with a veterinarian to set up your Parvo ICU and determine the treatments for each individual dog.
Can I duplicate this documentation for my organization?
Yes. With conditions. Please see the Duplicating This Wiki page for details before attempting to copy.