Can Dogs Carry Parvovirus Without Symptoms?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionCan a dog be a carrier of the parvovirus and not be affected by any symptoms? (teresa SAVALA - California)

Answer

Strictly speaking, a dog can not carry the disease without being infected, however the severity of symptoms varies so much that some dogs, especially adult dogs, would appear to have no symptoms. In fact, many adult dogs show only very mild symptoms if indeed any - most dogs with severe symptoms are below 6 months of age and the most affected are below 12 weeks. There are also substantial differences in the way different breeds are affected by a parvovirus infection.

Likewise, not all cases where the symptoms (such as bloody diarrhea) match those of parvovirus are in fact caused by parvovirus and it has been known for puppies to be wrongly diagnosed: the only definitive way to identify a parvovirus infection is through a diagnostic test by your veterinarian.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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Added on Sept 27th, 2008
What are the symptoms in older dogs?