Can Older Dogs Get Parvo?

Hello, and welcome to Pupster Passion. We love dogs (and dog owners) and do our best to help both the pets and people to live happier lives together.

We are not vets, so if you doubt your pet dog’s health, please see the vet for professional help and advice.

older dogs

Before discussing parvo and older dogs, we wanted to let you know about our other posts. If you are lucky enough to own one or older dogs, you will know they like to sleep a lot, and they need comfy dog beds for older dogs to help them with this. 

So, this post on the best pet beds for old dogs might be useful for you.

In this post, we are going to discuss Parvovirus in older dogs. Can they catch it? Do they need to be vaccinated, etc.?

Older Dogs and Parvo

In this post, we are going to discuss Parvovirus in older dogs. Can they catch it? Do they need to be vaccinated, etc.?

What Is Parvo?

Parvo is short for Parvovirus or, to give it its full title – Canine Parvovirus – often shortened to CPV. It is the name of a nasty virus that can very easily kill puppies. It is highly contagious and is easily spread through dog feces, dog vomit, and dog-to-dog physical contact.

Symptoms can include vomiting, lethargy, fever, and bloody diarrhea. Every time your puppy licks, sniffs or consumes infected feces, they are exposed to the virus.

There is also indirect transmission that happens when someone who has been exposed to an infected dog touches your puppy. Indirect transmission can also occur when your puppy comes across a contaminated object like a food bowl, water bowl, leash, or collar. Even the hands of the people touching the dogs can indirectly cause transmission.

The most damage by this virus is done in the stomach and intestines. It infects the small intestine, destroys cells, impairs absorption, and hurts the gut barrier. It can also lead to bone marrow and lymphopoietic tissues and, in some cases, the heart.

(By the way, click here if you are worried about excessive panting in an older dog).

Reasons Puppies Get Parvo

A puppy between the ages of six weeks and six months will be the most susceptible to this virus. When the puppy is under six weeks of age, they are still protected by their mother’s antibodies, as long as the mother had previously received the full series of parvo vaccinations.

Until the dog has received the full series of vaccinations, they are still vulnerable. So, dog owners need to exercise extreme caution to prevent the puppies from contracting the virus.

Is There a Certain Dog Breed at Higher Risk?

Yes! Certain dog breeds are at higher risk of parvo, including a Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, American Staffordshire Terrier, English Springer Spaniel, German Shepherd, and Labrador Retriever. This is especially true if they do not receive their parvo vaccination or are at increased risk already due to a compromised immune system.

Can Older Dogs Catch Parvo?

Yes, older dogs that have not been vaccinated can still catch CPV. It is most often discussed in puppies as it is more dangerous in younger dogs, but most dogs get their vaccinations when they are very young.

But make no mistake about this. Older dogs can be infected with Canine Parvovirus, and if they get it, it can make them very sick. If in any doubt, take your pet dog to the vet!

Can Dogs That Have Been Vaccinated Catch CPV?

Yes, an older vaccinated dog can get Parvovirus, but it is highly unlikely. The vaccines are highly effective in most cases, and your vaccinated dog will be exposed to the virus as it goes about its life. These exposures will act like little boosters to its immunity, helping it stay healthy.

Can Older Dogs Get Parvo From Puppies?

Yes, older dogs can be infected with parvo from puppies. But if the older dog has been vaccinated, it is highly unlikely to happen. So, if you are getting a new puppy or one of your dogs is having a litter, your older dogs should be safe as long as they have had all their CPV vaccinations.

Will Parvovirus Kill an Older Dog if it Catches it?

Parvo is most dangerous in younger dogs. Once your dog gets out of the puppy stage, you can relax; things become less risky. But the key to this is making sure that your puppy gets its Parvo vaccinations from a vet right away. This will help keep the puppy safe and help keep older dogs healthy and safe from this nasty disease.

How Can You Tell Adult Dogs Have Parvo?

One of the more common parvo symptoms in adult dogs is lethargy and loss of appetite. After this, they may develop a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Diarrhea and vomit may also contain blood. If you have an unvaccinated dog or an already compromised immune system, they are at higher risk of contracting parvo.

What Happens When Your Dog Gets Parvo?

When a young puppy contacts a parvo infection, there is an incubation period of three to seven days before you will begin to notice any of the symptoms. Once the virus is in the bloodstream, it will start to target rapidly dividing cells. It will focus on the bone marrow and the small intestine cells. Parvo in very young dogs can also cause infections in the heart, leading to inflammation.

When the bone marrow is affected, the body cannot protect itself against the virus. It causes a drop in protective white blood cells, making it easier for the virus to invade other parts of the body, like the gastrointestinal tract.

When your dog has this virus, it can’t replace old cells with new cells. This means the dog can’t adequately absorb nutrients. Because of this, you may notice severe nausea and diarrhea.

Can I Force Feed My Dog With Parvo?

It’s important to note that owners should not try to force-feed their pet on their own, as this could lead to further complications such as stomatitis or pneumonia caused by malnutrition.

A few different methods can be used for feeding a dog with parvo. One common suggestion is to give the dog small amounts of baby food, water, and chicken broth. This will help prevent them from becoming dehydrated and provide them with some essential nutrients.

What Are the Treatment Options for Dogs With Parvo?

There are a few different parvo treatment options, depending on the severity of the parvovirus infection.

Treatment options for the parvovirus may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • IV fluids
  • Electrolytes
  • In some cases, surgery may be necessary

A dog with a parvo infection will need bland food options such as boiled chicken and very lean ground beef. Bone broth or low-sodium chicken broth is recommended for a dog with parvo, along with white rice and mashed cottage cheese.

Dogs are advised to have small portions of food several times per day, starting with one teaspoon to one tablespoon of food.

It is important to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Intravenous fluids can help greatly with this. Sometimes, plasma transfusions and blood transfusions may also be used as a more aggressive treatment to replace lost proteins and cells.

What Is the Prognosis for Dogs With Parvo?

There is no one answer to this question, as the prognosis can vary greatly depending on the dog’s age, overall health, and the severity of the infection. However, most dogs with parvo will fully recover if given the proper treatment.

The prognosis for dogs with parvo is generally good. However, some signs of dehydration would necessitate a vet trip. In most cases, parvo can be treated without hospitalization or intravenous fluids provided under the skin.

Some research suggests that dogs diagnosed with parvo may develop digestive problems for the rest of their lives. Some changes to diet or adding in a little canned food will lead to diarrhea and weight loss in some cases.

Can a Dog Survive Parvo Without Treatment?

Parvo symptoms can be severe and life-threatening. Once a puppy or older dog exhibits parvo symptoms, they can die within 48 and 72 hours if left untreated. The mortality rate, when left untreated, is as high as 91%. So, if you notice any of the symptoms with your puppy or older dog, you want to get them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

If you are concerned about your dog’s health and want to ensure they fully recover from parvo, it is best to speak with your veterinarian about the best way to proceed.

Short Video on Parvo – Advice From a Vet

Ok, that is almost the end of this post on parvo concerning older pet dogs. Still, before you go, this video below, has some great information from a veterinarian professional, and it’s only a couple of minutes long: