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Is Parvovirus Shed in Vomit?


Sick dog on IV Fluids in veterinary hospital © Miguel Vera on Flickr

Sick Dog on IV Fluids

© Miguel Vera on Flickr
Question: Is Parvovirus Shed in Vomit?
A viewer asked if parvo can be spread via vomit (as well as feces) after losing a puppy to parvo. Learn about parvovirus incubation, transmission and survivability in this Parvo FAQ.

Answer: Email from a viewer
One week ago today I bought a puppy that ended up having parvo per the vet I took him to. Despite the quick response to vaccinations that were given by the vet, my puppy still died this past Friday. I bought another puppy last night and now I’m scared that I might infect the new puppy with the virus. I have sprayed watered down bleach in the cage, in the yard and deck. The dog vomited in the house a few times but never had bowel movements in the house. I have not bleached the places that were vomited on, will this cause my new puppy to get the virus? Also, just a general question, is it possible to catch the virus from vomit as well as feces?

How Parvo is Shed
The incubation period for parvo is 3 to 7 days, meaning that an animal who is susceptible to becoming ill from this virus will show clinical signs 3 to 7 days after being exposed to an animal sick with parvo. Parvovirus is most commonly spread via feces, infected soil, saliva, vomit, and fomites (i.e shoes, hands or other items contaminated with the virus). The virus is shed in the feces in very large amounts for 2 to 3 weeks post infection.

This virus replicates in the intestine, so shedding of the infective virus particles is primarily through the feces, but parvovirus is also shed in saliva and vomit. Treat all fecal matter and vomitus as potentially infective; wear gloves and use proper sanitation.

Parvo in the Environment
Parvovirus is a fairly hardy virus, surviving for long periods of time in the environment. Compared to some viruses that are easily killed (disinfection) or that survive only a few hours, parvovirus may survive for several months under certain conditions, with shady, cool, moist conditions being most favorable.

Exactly how long depends on many factors - temperature, humidity levels, sunlight, etc. It should be noted that freezing temperatures are protective for this virus; cold temperatures won't kill parvo.

Related: Disinfecting the Environment of Parvo

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