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Are Canine Parvovirus and Canine Distemper the same thing? Nope!

Canine Parvovirus

Canine Parvovirus is caused by a virus that infects the lining of the intestines or the heart in cases of cardiac parvo.  Parvo can live in the environment for months, even in severe weather conditions. The virus is transmitted through infected dog feces and can be carried to other areas from shoes, clothing, etc.


  • Frequent, sometimes bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite


Canine Distemper

Canine Distemper is caused by a virus that affects the lymph nodes and the nervous system.  It is transmitted through bodily secretions, such as urine, feces, saliva, eye fluids, and nasal secretions, and does not live long outside of the body.    Symptoms typically occur within 7 days after exposure.


  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Cough, sneezing, runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • High temperature
  • Fever
  • Later, seizures may occur


***    Most noticeable difference in symptoms between Parvo and Distemper: pads of dog’s paws become hardened and thickened in Distemper but not with Parvo.


Both Parvovirus and Distemper are very serious illnesses that are potentially fatal if not treated quickly.  Dogs Are Parvovirus and Distemper the same thing?typically require hospitalization and intensive care once diagnosed.

Both diseases are very contagious and could have a major effect on the community if an infected dog were to contaminate the environment.  That being said, it is very important that you isolate your pup if you know he or she is ill, and keep your healthy dog away from community areas such as dog parks if your dog has not been vaccinated.

Puppies are at high risk for contracting both diseases, as puppies have weak immune systems and they often have to wait until they are at least 6-8 weeks old before they can start the round of vaccinations.


Prevention methods for both Parvo and Distemper:

  1. Always clean up after your pet and wash your hands after touching other animals
  2. Keep your dog’s vaccinations current
  3. Isolate your dog if he or she has not received all required vaccinations


Source: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Canine-Distemper.aspx