Is a Puppy Instantly Protected After a Parvo Shot?

Canine parvovirus notably is prevalent in Doberman pinschers.
Canine parvovirus notably is prevalent in Doberman pinschers. (Image: Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images)

A lot goes into bringing a new puppy into your home, from housebreaking and planning meals to making sure that the little guy is all set with his vaccinations, whether for parvovirus, hepatitis, rabies, distemper or anything else his veterinarian advises. The parvovirus vaccine aims to defend canines against a potentially fatal viral infection.

Canine Parvovirus Background Information

This highly infectious ailment wreaks havoc on a canine's intestines, causing uncomfortable symptoms, such as severe diarrhea, incessant throwing up, exhaustion and fever. It generally emerges in young dogs who aren't even a year old, although not exclusively. Not only does parvovirus focus on the intestines, it also sometimes can lead to problems with the white blood cells. Canine parvovirus can be spread easily. A random item, human being or animal that somehow was exposed to stool matter carrying the infection could pass the infection onto another. Note, however, that humans and felines cannot get parvovirus from dogs.

Parvovirus Vaccine

Vaccinations might be able to keep parvovirus out of your precious puppy's life. Talk to your veterinarian about which specific vaccines are vital for your dog. Parvovirus vaccines often are categorized as being vital for canines of all ages. The goal of vaccines for parvovirus is to get a pooch's body ready to battle the infection -- and win. By using antigens to emulate illnesses, vaccines work to strengthen dogs' immune systems in the event of dangerous encounters with them.

Parvo Vaccination Timing

Talk to your veterinarian about planning the timing of your puppy's parvo vaccinations. Many young puppies get their initial vaccinations when they're roughly 6 to 8 weeks old. They then typically get additional booster doses every month or so until they reach between 4 and 5 months of age. By that point, puppies usually are done with their basic vaccinations. Despite that, growing young dogs, and adult dogs, still need to get some key shots on a regular basis. Puppies typically get parvo shots again once they reach the 1-year landmark.

Time Frame for Protection

Never assume that your puppy is protected instantly against parvovirus immediately after he gets a shot, even if he just got his "final" shot at 4 months old. Puppies still are extremely vulnerable to getting parvovirus for a minimum of 2 to 4 weeks after receiving the last parvo shot from their initial vaccination needs. Be safe and smart, and do all you can to keep your little one away from the disease, both during that time frame and beyond. Your sweet pooch can never have too much security against possible sickness, after all. Just to be completely sure, double-check with your vet on when your pup should be totally protected, and when exactly you can permit him to go outdoors and be around other dogs, for instance.

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