The most important vaccination for your puppy...the Parvovirus vaccination. Parvovirus, also known as “parvo” is a disease that can affect dogs. Canine parvovirus is extremely contagious and is contracted through the feces of an infected dog. Parvo is commonly known to kill young puppies that do not have well developed immune systems. Mortality in untreated cases of parvovirus is extremely high. Vaccination against parvovirus is the only way to prevent a dog from contracting this virus. Parvovirus cannot be spread from dogs to humans. Dogs that have contracted parvovirus generally show symptoms within 3 to 10 days after exposure. The most common symptoms of parvo include: secondary infections, dehydration, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, shock and eventually death.
A parvo infected dog can infect neighborhood dogs with their feces and through soil that has come in contact with their feces. Even if a dog recovers from parvovirus it is possible for them to shed the virus in there feces. The parvovirus vaccination can take as long as two weeks to take effect. Puppies should be kept away from any potential sources of parvo until they have had several parvo vaccinations.
The first parvovirus vaccination is given to puppies at five to six weeks of age. Then another vaccination every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. After the initial puppy parvovirus vaccination series, adult dogs receive a booster shot every year – or every three years depending upon your veterinarians vaccination preferences.