Can A Dog Get Parvovirus Twice? Here’s What You Need To Know

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If you’re a dog owner, one of your biggest fears is probably the possibility of your furry friend contracting parvovirus. This highly contagious disease can be contracted through contact with infected feces, and it can cause severe gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in some cases.

While prevention is key when it comes to parvovirus, many pet owners wonder if their dogs can get the virus more than once. After all, nobody wants to see their pup suffer from this debilitating disease twice.

“Canine Parvovirus is known for its high levels of contagion and destruction. However, while nearly 90% of dogs treated typically survive, preventing exposure altogether is essential.” -Dr. Courtney Campbell

So what’s the answer? Can a dog get parvovirus twice? The answer is not cut-and-dry, but there are several factors that come into play.

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not dogs can get parvovirus twice, why some may be at higher risk than others, and, most importantly, how you can protect your furry friend from this deadly disease.

Understanding Parvovirus in Dogs

What is Parvovirus?

Parvovirus in dogs, also known as canine parvovirus, is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system of dogs. This virus mostly affects puppies but can affect adult dogs too. It can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, fever, dehydration, and even death if left untreated.

The parvo virus affects rapidly dividing cells in the body such as those lining the intestines and bone marrow. The virus replicates quickly, leading to damage and destruction of these cells and symptoms of the disease.

How is Parvovirus Spread?

Canine parvovirus spreads easily from dog to dog through contact with infected feces or vomit. Infected dogs shed the virus for up to ten days after showing signs of illness, and even longer afterward. The virus can remain active in the environment (such as carpets, clothing, soil) for long periods, making it easy for other dogs to catch the infection years later.

Direct contact with an infected dog isn’t the only way that parvovirus spreads. You could unknowingly carry the virus home on your shoes, clothes, car tires, and hands. That’s why good hygiene practices are essential when dealing with infected dogs. Regular washing of hands, disinfecting surfaces, avoiding public areas where dogs congregate, and keeping sick dogs separated from others can help prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

“Dogs that contract parvo may require extensive treatment and often require hospitalization at an animal hospital. With proper medical care, including veterinary visits, medications, special diet, and care instructions, most dogs can survive canine parvovirus and go on to live healthy, happy lives.”- PetMD

But can a dog get parvovirus twice? It’s a common question among pet owners. Once dogs recover from parvo, they become immune to that strain of the virus. However, they are not protected against other strains or mutations of the virus.

If you have had an infected dog in your home, it is vital to clean and disinfect every area thoroughly before introducing another dog into your household. Also, consult with a veterinarian about vaccination schedules to help protect your dog from getting this deadly disease.

Immunity After Recovery

One of the most common questions dog owners have after their pets recover from parvovirus is whether or not they can get the disease again. The answer is yes, but it’s unlikely for a properly vaccinated dog that has developed immunity to the virus.

Duration of Immunity

Dogs develop immunity against parvovirus after exposure to the virus and proper vaccination. It’s important to note that the immunities don’t last forever though and may decrease over time. A study done in New York City found that dogs with immunization had a median survival time without the Parvo vaccine of 11 days, whereas those who previously received vaccines lived longer than six years.

The exact duration of immunity depends on various factors such as the health status of the dog, age, breed, and overall lifestyle. It’s recommended to follow up with your veterinarian to determine if extra vaccinations are necessary.

Types of Immunity

There are two types of immunity: active and passive. Active immunity occurs when an animal is exposed to a living organism or antigen, like getting vaccinated against a specific disease. Passive immunity happens when an individual is given pre-formed antibodies to help protect them from infectious organisms.

In regards to parvovirus immunity, puppies typically acquire passive immunity through ingesting their mother’s colostrum during the first 24-48 hours of life. This natural immunity helps shield them from diseases until their own immune systems mature enough to take over. Later on, active immunity develops after vaccination.

Boosting Immunity

To keep your dog protected against parvovirus, boosting immunity is essential through regular veterinary checkups and continual vaccinations. Discuss with your vet regarding the frequency of booster shots as some animals may need them sooner than others. Consider keeping up with environmental hygiene to help minimize your dog’s exposure to the virus.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, most veterinarians suggest vaccinating dogs every three years for parvovirus.”

Factors That Affect Immunity


Dogs, like humans, are susceptible to a decline in their immune systems as they age. This is because cells that play an important role in immunity decrease in number and function over time. Studies have shown that older dogs have higher risks of developing various diseases, including infections, because of weakened immune systems. Additionally, aging can also affect a dog’s vaccine response compared to younger ones.


The quality of a dog’s diet plays a significant role in keeping its immune system strong. A balanced diet provides all the necessary nutrients for optimal health and proper functioning of body processes such as antibody production and cellular repair. Deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals compromise the immune system and make it less capable of fighting off invaders like viruses. Malnutrition due to inadequate or low-quality food may exacerbate disease progression, slower healing process, and increase mortality rate.

An article in American Kennel Club states that “the gastrointestinal tract has many immune cells and serves as the first line of defence against infections.” Hence, feeding your dog with probiotics or prebiotics can enhance digestive functions and support gut health, ultimately boosting its overall immunity. Moreover, providing fresh water daily can flush out toxins from the body and maintain hydration levels critical for bodily mechanisms to operate correctly.

In contrast, high sugar diets can cause inflammation, weaken organs/ tissues, and disrupt immune systems’ usual functions. An experimental study in mice revealed that consuming sugar is linked with suppressing white blood cells (crucial immune cells) activity by 40% within 30 minutes after intake according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

A healthy diet with adequate levels of vitamins and probiotics can promote a robust immune system to fight off infections while limiting inflammation.

Reinfection vs. Recurrence

Dogs are man’s best friend, and it is our responsibility to take good care of them. One of the concerning diseases that affect dogs globally is Parvovirus. It can be deadly if left untreated or mismanaged. As a dog owner, you may wonder whether your pet can get Parvovirus twice. The answer is yes, but it depends on various factors like immune status and exposure. However, there is a difference between reinfection and recurrence.

What is Reinfection?

Parvovirus is highly contagious and spreads easily through infected feces, surfaces, and direct contact with sick dogs. When a dog contracts Parvovirus for the first time and then gets it again later in life, this is called reinfection. This means that the dog’s immune system did not produce enough lasting immunity against the virus after the initial infection, making the animal vulnerable once more. According to Dr. Jason W. Stull, VMD, PhD, DACVPM at Ohio State University, “The length and strength of immunity following vaccination cannot precisely predict a dog’s complete protection against subsequent infection.”

What is Recurrence?

In contrast, when a previously infected dog experiences another episode of clinical signs due to the same strain of Parvovirus after they have seemingly recovered from the initial infection, it is called recurrence. This occurs because the virus has remained dormant within the dog’s body and resurfaces under certain conditions such as stress or an immunocompromised state. Recurrent infections generally happen soon (less than 6 months) after recovering, whereas reinfections can occur years apart or in different locations.

Differences Between Reinfection and Recurrence:

The primary distinction between reinfection and recurrence is that the former involves a new encounter with Parvovirus, while the latter indicates reactivation of the virus in an already infected dog. Here are other notable differences:

  • Timing: Reinfection can occur years apart, whereas recurrence usually happens within 6 months of recovery from the initial infection.
  • Symptoms: The clinical signs of both conditions may be similar, but recurrent infections tend to be milder than the first episode, while reinfections tend to manifest more severe symptoms.
  • Treatment: Treatment for both hinges on early detection, prompt supportive management (fluids, nutrition) to correct dehydration and electrolyte imbalances and secondary bacterial infections. Recurrent cases will respond better since their immune system retains some memory cells against the viral strain responsible for the first outbreak, while in reinfections, treatment may only help manage the process as there is no lasting immunity yet established.
  • Prevention: Since Parvovirus vaccination or prior exposure do not confer complete protection against subsequent exposures, reinforcing hygienic practices such as handwashing, disinfecting surfaces, minimizing contact with sick animals remains essential in avoiding Parvo altogether. Vaccinations every three years are recommended, though quarantining dogs until booster shots kick in may also cut down risk significantly.
“It’s important to keep in mind that clearing one parvovirus doesn’t necessarily mean your pet won’t succumb to another, different strain – especially if your pet has been exposed to less-common subtypes” cautioned Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, staff doctor at NYC’s Animal Medical Center.

Although it is possible for your canine friend to get Parvovirus twice, understanding whether it’s reinfection or recurrence crucially determines treatment, prognosis, and monitoring interval between-up visits to the veterinarian. Staying up-to-date with recommended health practices such as vaccination, constant monitoring for symptoms and prompt treatment remains the best way to keep your pet safe while also ensuring that sick animals do not infect healthy ones.

Preventing Parvovirus in Dogs


Dog owners can prevent their pets from contracting the deadly parvovirus by vaccinating them. Vaccines against the virus are highly effective and offer long-lasting protection.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that puppies receive a series of vaccinations starting at six to eight weeks old and continuing every three to four weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. After this initial vaccination, dogs should receive booster shots annually or as recommended by their veterinarian.

“Vaccination is the cornerstone of prevention for parvovirus” -Dr. Kathryn Primm, DVM

Cleanliness and Hygiene

The parvovirus spreads through contaminated fecal matter, so it’s essential that dog owners keep their pet’s living area clean. This includes regularly disinfecting food and water bowls, toys, bedding, and any surfaces your dog may come into contact with.

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to the parvovirus, make sure to clean up any feces immediately with bleach diluted in water (a ratio of 1:32) to kill the virus.

“Effective cleaning and sanitation procedures are critical to break the cycle of infection” -American Kennel Club

Avoiding Contaminated Areas

Dogs can pick up the parvovirus by coming into contact with infected dogs or areas where infected dogs have been. Avoiding high-risk areas such as dog parks or communal water bowls can greatly reduce the risk of exposure.

It’s also important to be aware of the signs of an infected animal, which include diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite. If you notice these symptoms while out in public, it’s best to keep your dog away from the affected animal and area.

“Keep unvaccinated puppies at home and avoid areas where they may encounter infected dogs” -American Veterinary Medical Association

Isolation of Sick Dogs

If you suspect that your dog has been infected with the parvovirus, it’s crucial to isolate them from other animals. The virus is highly contagious and can easily spread to other dogs via contact with feces or bodily fluids.

Make sure to take your sick dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. Parvovirus can be fatal if left untreated, so time is of the essence.

“Early diagnosis and appropriate therapeutic measures are critical in determining survival” -The Merck Veterinary Manual
In conclusion, while parvovirus is a serious threat to dogs, it can be prevented by vaccination, proper hygiene, avoiding contaminated areas, and isolating sick dogs. It’s essential to take preventative measures to protect our furry friends from this deadly virus.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Parvovirus Again

Symptom Management

If your dog has been infected with parvovirus again, the first step is to manage their symptoms. Symptoms of parvovirus can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and loss of appetite. It’s important to keep your dog hydrated, so encourage them to drink water or give them special electrolyte solutions that several pet stores carry.

You should also change your dog’s diet until they have recovered from the virus. A bland diet such as boiled chicken and rice may help ease the digestive system during this time. You should also be sure to clean up any spills or bodily fluids around their sleeping and resting areas as blood will sometimes accompany bowel movements in an infected dog.

Treatment for symptoms might include anti-nausea medications like dolasetron, chlorpromazine, and ondansetron. These pharmaceuticals might solve the problem by stopping or reducing frequent vomiting occurrences or adding fiber supplements to meals to stabilize solid discharge rates

Veterinary Care

If your furry friend is suffering from a repeat bout of the notorious parvovirus, consider taking prompt action to seek professional care immediately. Dogs diagnosed with parvovirus require immediate medical attention, and treatment needs to be done under a vet’s care. The standard course of treatment will usually involve IV fluids and antibiotics that would be needed multiple times throughout the day. Antibiotics are regularly administered to dogs whose immune systems have become vulnerable to secondary bacterial infections after being weakened by exposure to harmful pathogens.

The most advanced parvo treatments utilise specific immunoglobulin therapy, where highly concentrated antibodies collected from healthy donor pets are intravenously infused into diseased animals. This can aid the healing process because it transfers immunity across the pet’s body, accelerating recovery.

Dogs who are weakened by parvovirus need supportive veterinary care in specialised animal hospitals to recover safely and over an extended period of time. While most dogs can recover from parvo with proper veterinary care, they might not be immune for a longer duration than expected. In some cases, dogs exposed to parvovirus previously would have already created anti-bodies to fight off similar diseases.

“It is essential to never underestimate Parvo’s potential danger, as it can kill puppies lower than six months; likewise, adult pups struggle significantly when affected. So utilizing intense healthcare intervention methods like immunoglobulin therapy has proven promising.” – Dr. Joanna Crooke, Medical Director of VetCT

If your dog has parvovirus again, careful attention must be paid to symptom management and immediate veterinary treatment. The first steps involve alleviating any symptoms through giving oral electrolytes or providing bland diets that are easy on their digestive system until diagnosed by a veterinarian. Furthermore, IV fluids and antibiotics will help heal secondary bacterial infections caused by weakened immunity. Never hesitate to rush things when dealing with this disease—immediate medical attention may boost your creature back to life nd increase their chances of survival.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a dog get parvovirus more than once?

Yes, a dog can get parvovirus more than once. However, the chances of a dog getting infected with parvovirus again are lower if they have developed immunity to the virus after recovering from the first infection. Vaccination can also help prevent future infections.

Is it possible for a dog to contract a different strain of parvovirus?

Yes, it is possible for a dog to contract a different strain of parvovirus. There are various strains of the virus, and immunity to one strain does not necessarily protect against other strains. Vaccination can help protect against multiple strains of the virus.

What are the chances of a dog surviving a second bout of parvovirus?

The chances of a dog surviving a second bout of parvovirus depend on various factors, such as the dog’s age, overall health, and the severity of the infection. However, the likelihood of survival is generally lower for a second infection compared to the first. Vaccination and prompt treatment can help improve the chances of survival.

Can a dog still transmit parvovirus to other dogs after recovering from it?

No, a dog that has recovered from parvovirus is not likely to transmit the virus to other dogs. However, the virus can still be present in the dog’s feces for up to several weeks after recovery, so proper sanitation and hygiene practices are important to prevent the spread of the virus.

What steps can be taken to prevent a dog from getting parvovirus again?

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent a dog from getting parvovirus again, such as ensuring the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations, practicing good sanitation and hygiene habits, and avoiding contact with infected dogs or contaminated areas. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can also help detect and treat any potential infections early on.

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