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Managing Parvovirus, Coronavirus, and Other Diseases in Puppies and Kennels

Parvovirus is a significant concern for both breeders and rescue organizations due to its severe impact on puppy health and high costs associated with treatment. Effective management and preventive measures are crucial to ensuring the well-being of puppies and minimizing financial losses. This article delves into the causes, symptoms, prevention, and management of Parvovirus and other diseases in a kennel setting.

How Do Puppies Contract Parvo?

Parvovirus is an aggressive, highly contagious, and often fatal disease primarily affecting young or poorly vaccinated puppies. The virus attacks the intestinal lining (Parvovirus enteritis) and can sometimes affect the heart muscle in very young puppies. Parvo is shed in feces and can survive in the environment for six to nine months, even under harsh conditions. Puppies between six weeks and six months of age are particularly vulnerable.

Recognizing the Signs of Parvo in Puppies

Early detection of Parvovirus is vital for successful treatment. The disease typically starts abruptly with anorexia and depression, quickly progressing to vomiting and diarrhea. Puppies may become severely dehydrated and lethargic, exhibiting a "want to die" demeanor. Any dog showing signs of depression and gastrointestinal distress should be considered for Parvo until proven otherwise.

The Evolution of Parvo

Parvovirus originated from feline Panleukopenia, a similar virus affecting cats. Over time, it mutated and began to affect dogs, resulting in what we now recognize as Canine Parvovirus. Newer strains, such as 2a, 2b, and 2c, can spread between wildlife, cats, and dogs, making the virus more resilient and widespread.

Preventing Parvo in Your Kennel

To minimize the risk of Parvo in your kennel, implement the following preventive measures:

  1. Vaccination Protocol:

  • Start vaccinating puppies early and administer two Parvo vaccines, two weeks apart, before they leave the kennel.

  • Rescue and humane kennels should vaccinate dogs for Parvo and Distemper before they are exposed to kennel environments.

  • Keep cats in the kennel vaccinated against feline distemper (Panleukopenia) to prevent them from contracting and spreading Canine Parvovirus.

  1. Disinfection Practices:

  • Use effective disinfectants like Virkon® and Oxine® to clean kennel surfaces. These disinfectants work quickly and penetrate organic matter to eliminate the virus.

  • Avoid using bleach around puppies, as it can be harmful to their sensitive skin and is not effective on soiled surfaces.

  1. Environmental Control:

  • Limit visitor access to the kennel and ensure proper sanitation protocols are followed to prevent disease transmission.

  • Control wildlife access to the kennel area, as animals like foxes, coyotes, and raccoons can carry and spread Parvovirus.

Managing Parvovirus Outbreaks

If a Parvo outbreak occurs, take immediate action to contain and treat the disease:

  1. Isolation: Separate infected puppies from healthy ones to prevent the virus from spreading.

  2. Hydration: Administer fluids, either through subcutaneous injections or enemas, to combat dehydration. Use a saline and dextrose solution to maintain glucose levels and hydration.

  3. Antibiotics: Use antibiotics like Tylosin to combat secondary bacterial infections. Avoid Lincocin and Gentocin in dehydrated puppies as they can harm the kidneys.

  4. Anti-vomiting Medications: Medications like Reglan or Cerenia® can help control vomiting.

  5. Nutritional Support: Feed puppies high-fat, high-protein foods as soon as they can handle it to support recovery. Avoid high-carbohydrate foods to prevent Clostridium overgrowth and sudden death.

Long-Term Prevention and Care

Maintaining a strong vaccination program and strict hygiene practices are key to preventing Parvo:

  1. Regular Vaccinations: Ensure all puppies are vaccinated at six and eight weeks of age, with boosters as recommended.

  2. Environmental Control: Regularly disinfect the kennel and surrounding areas with effective products like

  3. Stress Management: Reduce stressors during rehoming by providing consistent water and food, and consider using probiotics to support gut health.



Managing diseases like Parvovirus and Coronavirus in a litter or kennel requires diligent preventive measures, proper vaccination protocols, and effective hygiene practices. By understanding the sources of these diseases and implementing strategies to minimize exposure, breeders and pet owners can ensure healthier outcomes for their puppies. Stay vigilant and proactive to keep your kennel free from Parvovirus and other diseases. For more educational resources on canine health and reproduction, visit


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