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Veterinary Public Health


Veterinary Public Health

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Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Parvo in Dogs   

Do we have parvo in LA County?

Save yourself money, time, and heartache:
 Vaccinate your dog.


Every year, hundreds of dogs in our county are diagnosed with canine parvovirus (aka "parvo").  The number of cases reported by local veterinarians has been increasing. Most cases are not reported, to the actual number of parvo cases is higher.


In the majority of these cases, the dog had not been vaccinated or had received a vaccine only once. Most cases could have been prevented.



# of canine parvo cases reported
in LA County¹

2010 226 dogs
2011 651 dogs
2012 313 dogs
2013 740 dogs
2014* 336 dogs
¹ Includes both confirmed cases (94% of total) and suspected (6% of total)
 * 2014 data as of July 22


What is parvo?

Parvo (canine parvovirus) is a virus that causes severe illness in dogs. The virus mostly attacks the intestines, causing nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Sometimes the diarrhea is severe, watery and bloody. Other times it is moderate and yellow in color. The virus also harms the immune system of dogs, making them more likely to get sick from additional germs. Most Parvo cases occur in puppies, but unvaccinated adult dogs may also catch the virus.


How do dogs catch parvo?

Parvo is very contagious between dogs. If a dog that is sick with Parvo spends time near other dogs, the other dogs will be exposed to the virus. The virus lives in the diarrhea of the infected dog. The virus can also get on the haircoat of an infected dog and survive there for weeks. Finally, the virus can live for a very long time in the environment (months) where an infected dog spent time.


What time of the year is parvo most common?

Click here to find out!


What should I do if I think my dog has parvo?

Keep it away from other dogs. Wash your hands before touching other dogs. Contact you local veterinarian - they can perform a simple in-office test on a fecal sample to see if your dog has Parvo. Dogs with severe cases of Parvo need to be hospitalized to get fluid treatment and other medications in order to survive. Dogs with milder cases are sometimes treated without hospitalization.


How can I protect my dog from parvo?

The Parvo vaccine is part of the regular vaccinations that all dogs should have. It is the "P" in the DHLPP vaccine. (The "D" stands for Distemper, which is another disease commonly found in dogs in Los Angeles County).


Vaccination against Parvo is a bargain. It costs much less money to protect your dog with vaccinations than to treat your dog for parvo. It is important to remember that more than one Parvo vaccine must be given to protect your dog. Puppies are NOT protected until they have received the Parvo vaccine at least three times at 2, 3, and 4 months of age. Get the vaccine again one year after that (booster). For adult dogs that have not been vaccinated (or that have no known medical history), get the Parvo vaccine two times, spaced one month apart, and then again a year later. After that, get the vaccine for your dog at least once every three years.


Where can I get my dog vaccinated against parvo?

Call your local veterinary hospital. Some veterinary clinics offer vaccines at reduced prices on specific days. Local animal shelters also offer low-cost vaccinations on certain days. Click here to learn more.



Especially important for puppies:

Keep your puppy away from other dogs and their feces until after it has finished the FULL series of shots.

Do not bring your puppy to parks!

Last Updated 7/22/14

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