Benefits outweigh risks of the Parvo vaccine


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Benefits outweigh risks of the Parvo vaccine

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy, 

My son recently bought a three-month-old Boston Terrier named Riley, who is now receiving all of his necessary vaccinations. My son has been advised the next vaccination will be for the parvovirus, but because of the side effects he’s heard and read about, he is clearly leaning toward not getting this shot for Riley. Understanding how deadly this parvovirus is, is he making the right decision to forgo this shot?

— Jeanne Treanor, Smithtown, NY

Dear Jeanne,

Don’t let your son forgo this vaccination for Riley. Parvovirus is a very deadly virus that chiefly affects a dog’s intestinal tract, which results in vomiting and dehydrating diarrhea. If a dog does somehow survive this horrible ordeal, the virus can damage his or her heart muscle permanently, resulting in life-long cardiac problems.

Puppies and young dogs are the most vulnerable to this disease. It’s a highly-resistant and highly-contagious virus that can live in an environment for many months and can even survive on inanimate objects, like clothes, carpet, shoes, and food bowls. In fact, many animal shelters will not adopt a puppy or young dog into a home that has had a dog with parvovirus over the past year, even if the new dog has been vaccinated.

Most side effects from the vaccination are temporary and clear up after a few days. Ask your son to discuss his concerns with the vet who can ease his worries and discuss with him the benefits of this much-needed vaccine. 

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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