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Home > Dogs > Is It Possible for a Dog to Catch Parvo Twice? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Is It Possible for a Dog to Catch Parvo Twice? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Serious health conditions like parvo are every dog parent’s worst nightmare, and spotting potential symptoms in your dog can be very distressing. If it’s something you’ve already been through with your dog but they’ve since recovered, we have some good news for you—though it’s possible for dogs to catch parvo twice, it’s very unlikely.

In this post, we’ll explore what parvo is, its signs and symptoms, the prognosis, talk about vaccination and prevention, and why it’s unlikely that a dog will get parvo twice.


What Is Parvo?

The full name for parvo is canine parvovirus, a very serious and highly contagious virus that can be life-threatening without swift treatment. It affects the stomach and small intestine, causing gastrointestinal symptoms like severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Unvaccinated puppies and senior dogs are the most likely to catch the parvovirus, so it’s crucial to get your puppy or dog vaccinated on schedule. Puppies receive their parvovirus vaccine in a series of doses, which begin at 6–8 weeks of age and typically finish at 16 weeks of age.

They will then need to receive booster shots as they get older, so we recommend speaking to your vet to determine an appropriate vaccine schedule.

dog getting a vaccine
Image By: Syda Productions, Shutterstock

What Causes Parvo?

The virus is spread via contact with other infected dogs, contaminated feces, and contaminated surfaces and objects, including people. Though humans can’t catch parvo from dogs and vice versa, they can still carry the virus on their hands and clothes from contact with infected dogs. It can also be transferred from dogs to cats, though it can’t be transferred from cats to dogs.

Part of the reason the parvovirus is so concerning is that it’s so adept at surviving for a long time in a variety of environments and harsh weather conditions. Additionally, not every disinfectant can kill it. Only bleach mixed with water and special disinfectants designed to kill parvovirus can do the job.

What Are the Signs of Parvo?

The parvovirus attacks the small intestine and stomach, and symptoms usually begin within 3–7 days after the dog has been infected. If you suspect that your puppy or dog may have parvo, contact your vet immediately. It’s important to let your vet know that you’re bringing your dog in so they can prepare to quarantine them and prevent the spread of infection at the clinic.

labrador puppy in the arms of a vet
Image By: Ilike, Shutterstock

Early signs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Refusing to eat

Following the early signs, your dog may develop the following signs:

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Hypothermia
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anorexia
  • Dehydration
  • Fast heartbeat

Can Parvo Be Treated?

There is no cure for parvo, but the sooner supportive medical care is given the better the outcome. Your vet will perform some tests to diagnose parvo—most likely an ELISA test, which is carried out by taking a fecal sample, though they may perform additional tests to be 100% sure.

Treatment involves intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and correct electrolyte imbalances, anti-vomiting medication, feeding, and, in some cases, antibiotics. Your dog will likely need to stay at the veterinary clinic so they can be monitored throughout their recovery. Dogs that show signs of improvement within 3 or 4 days have the best chance of survival.

Can Dogs Catch Parvo Twice?

The chances of a recovered dog being ill with parvo again are slim. This is because they build up an immunity to the condition which lasts for years. Nevertheless, there is still a chance, so it’s important to keep up with your dog’s vaccination schedule as normal. There are 2 canine parvovirus strains and both are included in the vaccination. A good immunity doesn’t stop your dog from being infected with the virus when mixing with other dogs. However, it does vastly improve the chances that they will not become unwell, by having antibodies ready to fight off the disease.

dog owner talking to vet
Image By; SeventyFour, Shutterstock

Can Parvo Be Prevented?

Indeed, if your puppy or dog is kept up to date with their vaccinations. To reiterate, we recommend speaking to your vet about how often your adult dog should get their booster shots, as it may differ depending on the guidelines in your location.

As well as keeping up with a vaccine schedule, avoid letting your puppy around unvaccinated dogs until they’ve had all their shots. It’s not a good idea to take your unvaccinated puppy out in public places like parks, doggy play zones, and dog-friendly coffee shops or restaurants because you can’t be sure if other dogs in the vicinity have been vaccinated.

Though uncommon, fully vaccinated dogs do sometimes get the parvovirus, so it’s best to keep an eye out for the symptoms just in case.



So, to sum it all up, it’s possible for dogs who have had parvo once to catch it again, but it is unlikely they will be as severely affected due to the immunity they will have developed. It’s also rare, but still possible for vaccinated dogs to become ill with parvo, so be vigilant and watch out for the signs.

The good news is that dogs with parvo offered treatment quickly have a pretty good chance of pulling through, and there is a vaccine for the parvovirus that puppies and adult dogs can have to help prevent them from getting sick in the first place.

Even if you have only the tiniest inkling that your dog may have parvo, contact your vet—as we always say, better safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s health and well-being.

Featured Image Credit: IgorAleks, Shutterstock

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