Parvovirus is a word no dog owner wants to hear their vet say. This virus can be fatal in puppies if not diagnosed and treated quickly. Yet, is the treatment for parvovirus in puppies covered under puppy insurance plans? What expenses can pet parents expect when treating parvo symptoms in their dog? Below, we'll discuss parvovirus, its symptoms, treatment costs, and more.

Parvovirus in puppies: What is this disease?

Parvovirus in puppies can be fatal without the correct prevention methods. This highly contagious and infectious DNA virus causes severe illness in puppies and unvaccinated dogs. Parvovirus, often called parvo, mainly affects the stomach and small intestine. Once the virus gets into your dog's system, it attacks the cells in the small intestine, impairing absorption, and disrupting the gut barrier.

Parvovirus in puppies can also affect their bone marrow, lymphatic tissues, and heart. Without immediate veterinary care, your puppy's prognosis isn't good. Even with veterinary care, recovery rates for parvo are between 68 percent to 92 percent. Recovery times will vary depending on severity. But puppies with parvo can recover after one week. Certain breeds are more at risk than others. These include Rottweilers, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and Doberman pinschers.

Why do puppies get parvo?

The reason why parvovirus in puppies is much higher than in other dog stages is purely due to age. Your puppy is susceptible to parvo between six weeks and six months old. This is because they aren't old enough to receive their parvo vaccination. Until they've received their full vaccination series against the virus, they're at risk of getting it.

However, other factors can increase a puppy's chance of contracting parvo. For example, when puppies begin to wean, this causes them stress. Like humans, anxiety in dogs weakens their immune system meaning their natural antibodies decline. Additionally, puppies are curious and mischievous creatures who can quickly put themselves in a situation that increases the probability of transmission.

But how is parvovirus passed between animals? Your puppy can come into contact with this virus by engaging with an infected dog or inspecting a contaminated surface or object. As this virus can live on surfaces, your pup can get it from brushing up against another dog's fur or sniffing a patch of grass with the virus on it. The best way to prevent parvovirus in puppies is to be vigilant when your dog's outside until they're fully vaccinated against it.

Parvo symptoms: What owners need to look for

What are the clear signs of parvovirus in puppies? Unfortunately, your dog may have contracted the virus days before you notice any symptoms. Typically, parvo symptoms show between three and seven days after infection. Here's what a pet parent should look for:

  • lethargy;
  • vomiting;
  • fever;
  • weight loss;
  • bloody diarrhea;
  • weakness;
  • dehydration;
  • depression.

Contact your vet immediately if you notice any of these parvo symptoms. Dog owners should bring their puppy to the vet at the first sign of any illness. And with parvo, time is of the essence. The sooner parvovirus is diagnosed, the quicker treatment can start.

Parvovirus diagnosis and treatment

Parvovirus in puppies is diagnosed through routine blood work and other diagnostic exams, such as specialized fecal tests. Based on test results and the presence of parvo symptoms, your vet will begin supportive treatment. Unfortunately, there's no cure for parvovirus. Any treatment your vet recommends focuses on helping your dog's immune system fight off the virus.

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if your dog has a secondary bacterial infection. In most cases, treating parvo requires long-term management. You'll need first to treat your pup's symptoms (e.g., vomiting and dehydration, etc.). After this, you can make lifestyle changes to boost their immune system, such as feeding them a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Parvo treatment costs

The cost of treating parvovirus can vary significantly depending on the severity of the virus. As most puppies with parvo require emergency vet care and hospitalization, treatment costs can range between $500 and $8000. Unfortunately, this condition is a leading cause of economic euthanasia.

Many pet parents wouldn't be able to cover the cost of treating parvo in puppies. This means they have to opt for putting their dog down rather than pursuing treatment. However, owners can avoid these expenses by purchasing affordable pet insurance and getting preventative vaccinations.

Is my puppy immune to parvovirus if they get vaccinated against it?

Although no vaccination is ever 100 percent effective, the parvovirus vaccine gives your dog a high level of protection against this severe and infectious illness. If they contract parvo, your dog's symptoms should be mild, reducing the risk of fatality. Keeping up with your pooch's annual vacation is the best defense against parvovirus.

Does dog insurance cover parvo treatment?

The question on many pet parents' lips when their puppy receives a parvovirus diagnosis is, Does pet insurance cover parvo treatment? This answer will vary from one insurance company to another. Some pet insurance companies don't include coverage for parvovirus in puppies if they're not vaccinated yet. In most cases, a pet insurance policy will cover the necessary steps to make your dog healthy again.

For example, at Wagmo, our pet insurance emergency cover includes expenses for emergency vet visits, hospital stays, and prescription medication. All of these will be necessary as part of parvo treatment for dogs.

Wagmo puppy insurance plan: Keep your dog protected against parvo

Puppy owners are never 100percent safe from hearing their dog has parvovirus—unless they take steps to get them vaccinated. However, what if something happens before your pup reaches the vaccination age? It's for this reason getting a puppy insurance plan is highly recommended. A pet's health is never guaranteed. With pet insurance, whatever unexpected illness or injury that comes your way is covered.

Wagmo Pet Insurance plans support your dog throughout all stages of its life. We provide comprehensive cover, including surgery expenses, laboratory tests, hereditary conditions, and more. Pet parents can sleep soundly with three deductible plans to choose from, knowing unexpected pet care expenses are covered.
For more information about our pet insurance plans, read our FAQs or take our quiz today to find the right plan for you and your pup.