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The Importance of
Proper Parvo Protection

Randy Walker DVM

About Parvo…

Parvo is a serious and often deadly disease of dogs which attacks the small intestine.  Parvo is spread by a hardy virus that is quite prevalent in our area.  The Parvo virus can exist outside the dog’s body in a dormant yet infectious state for 1-2 years.  Parvo can be transported on clothing, utensils, and even the dust in the air so that a puppy doesn’t need to be directly exposed to another dog in order to catch Parvo, unvaccinated dogs in our area are at great risk from Parvo even if they are secluded from other dogs.

What Is The Best Way to Protect The Puppy (Dog) Against Parvo?

First the puppy’s mother should be up-to-date on her Parvo vaccination before the puppy is born.  This is because the first immunity the puppy gain toward Parvo (and other diseases) is that which is acquired through the passive transfer of antibodies from the mother to the puppy in the first milk the puppy nurses.  Next the puppy should receive the complete series of puppy shots (Distemper/Parvo 6-way vaccine) at the proper time intervals.  Finally, as an adult, the do should receive the Distemper/Parvo 6-way booster once a year.

Briefly, What Is The Parvo Vaccination Protocol For A Puppy?

It is very important that the puppy receive the first Parvo vaccination (included in the Distemper/Parvo 6-way shot) at 6 weeks of age.  Then the Vaccination is boostered every 3 weeks until the puppy is 18 weeks old.  In other words, we booster at 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 weeks of age.

How Important Is It That The Boosters Outlined In The Puppy Series Be Given?

It is extremely important that all of the boosters be given because this helps insure proper protection.

If My Dog (Or Puppy) Hasn’t Received The Complete Puppy Series, On Schedule, How Long Will It Take For A Vaccination My Pet Receives Today To Be Effective?

It takes about 2 - 3 weeks for the vaccination we give today to stimulate good immunity. The incubation period for Parvo (that time from when the pet is exposed until illness develops) is about 10 days, so if your dog has been exposed to or is incubating Parvo now, the vaccination we give today will be of limited effectiveness during this particular disease episode.  For example, if your dog is 12 weeks old and has had no parvo protection yet, and then gets exposed to the disease and the vaccine at about the same time, the disease will manifest itself before good immunity can be achieved.  A vaccine given today will not be effective toward diseases already acquired or encountered within the next few days.

Briefly What Is The Parvo Vaccination Protocol For The Adult Dog?

The Parvo vaccination should be boostered once a year in the adult dog.


- Randy Walker DVM
Sun Lakes Animal Clinic
May 17,2004



"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
- Anatole France, 1921 Nobel Prize Speech -


Titlebar Image: The Gentle Doctor, 1937-38 by Christian Peterson (U84.179) - Iowa State University