Sasha, they named me, a cute puppy that dad bought from a man on the side of the road on his way home from work. He picked me out from my 10 brothers and sisters from a card box, as a playmate for his son.

I was bundle of joy, bouncing around, running and playing with my new-found family who adored me. To top it off they bought a whole lot of stimulating pet toys for me to play with.

Boy!  was I lucky to have such lovely humans.

Two weeks later I felt sick and just had no energy to get up and play. My little human friend tried to coax me with toys to come and play but I just did not feel well at all.

Shockingly, I started vomiting continuously and passing bloody watery like diarrhoea.

I felt weak, terrified, cold and shivering and could just not lift my head up.

When Dad arrived back later that afternoon from work, I was too weak to greet him and managed a small but weak tail wag. Dad was alarmed at my condition and rushed me off to the local veterinarian.

The Doctor asked if dad had taken me for vaccinations against the many canine viral diseases. He went on to say that some were fatal and highly contagious in pets.

Dad shook his head in sadness and said in a low voice that he had not and he just never found the time to take me.

The doctor then did a canine parvo (CPV) “Snap test” and declared that I had Canine Parvo virus (CPV) infection. He further declared that sadly this disease could have been prevented if I had been vaccinated by a veterinarian.

He told dad that I was critical and that I needed extensive treatment including, a drip and hospitalisation.  Dad agreed to the treatment.  I tried to wag my tail but was far too weak as dad and my young human friend, who was already in tears watch as I was taken away to my ward cage.

There was a big fuss around me as I saw friendly nurses and orderlies shaving my leg to set up a drip and others injecting me with medication. They placed me on a warm blanket, all the time they spoke to me in warm comforting words – did they know what I did not about the severity of my disease?

I remember no more…….

Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV2, colloquially parvo) is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs, and thought to originate in cats.  Parvo is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their faeces. Vaccines can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases. Treatment often involves veterinary hospitalization. Canine parvovirus may infect other mammals however, it will not infect humans.

Dogs that develop the disease show signs of the illness within 3 to 7 days. The signs may include lethargy, vomiting, fever, and diarrhoea (usually bloody). Generally, the first sign of CPV is lethargy. Secondary signs are loss of weight and appetite or diarrhoea followed by vomiting. Diarrhoea and vomiting result in dehydration and other factors can lead to shock and death.


Diagnosis is made by the veterinarian with the help of clinical signs and other laboratory tests available to him.


Prevention is the only way to ensure that a puppy or dog remain healthy because the disease is extremely virulent and contagious. Appropriate vaccination should be performed starting at 7–8 weeks of age, with a booster given every 3–4 weeks until at least 16 weeks of age. Pregnant mothers should not be vaccinated as it will abort the puppies and could make the mother extremely sick. The virus is extremely hardy and has been found to survive in faeces and other organic material such as soil for over 10 years. It survives extremely low and high temperatures.


The only household disinfectant that kills the virus is bleach. The diluted bleach solution needs to be a (1:10 ratio) to disinfect and kill parvovirus.

Should you require further information on the Canine Parvo Virus or responsible pet ownership please contact AACL Jhb on 011 435 0672 or