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What are Canine Minute Virus?

Canine minute virus is spread through direct contact between your dog and an infected dog. It can also spread through indirect contact such as on clothing or shoes. The virus will transmit through feces and can stay active for several days outside the body. Your dog can ingest or inhale the spores of the virus and become ill. Make sure that your dog has their age appropriate vaccinations and do not allow them to be in areas with a lot of dogs until their immune system is mature.

Canine minute virus in dogs is also known as minute virus of canines (MVC) or canine parvovirus type 1. Canine minute virus is an autonomous parvovirus that was first identified in 1967 from affected dog’s feces. Young puppies and adolescent dogs are most susceptible, so are dogs that are unvaccinated. 

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Symptoms of Canine Minute Virus in Dogs

When a puppy or dog is suffering from canine minute virus, they will just seem very tired at first and not want to eat or drink. When you notice your dog sleeping more and not eating or drinking, call your veterinarian for an appointment to have your dog checked over for any serious illness, such as canine minute virus. Other symptoms to watch for include:

  • Lethargy
  • Losing weight
  • Abdominal pain
  • Profuse vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Hypothermia
  • Death

Causes of Canine Minute Virus in Dogs

Canine minute virus is spread from direct and indirect contact with an infected dog. Your dog can contract the virus by ingesting the feces of an infected dog. The virus can also be brought into your dog’s environment on clothing and/or shoes. It is important to take precautions when you have a young dog that does not have a mature immune system. Do not visit areas where there are a lot of dogs until your dog is older and has all their immunizations.

Diagnosis of Canine Minute Virus in Dogs

When you bring your dog in for their appointment, try to bring in a fresh stool sample for analysis. Your veterinarian will begin by discussing the symptoms that you have witnessed and also any environmental changes that may have occurred to upset your dog. 

Your veterinarian will conduct a full physical examination, including palpating the abdomen and taking your dog’s temperature. Typically, dogs will be slightly hypothermic when suffering from canine minute virus because they are becoming dehydrated from vomiting and/or diarrhea. Testing will be done on the fecal sample that you brought in, or if you were unable to collect one, your veterinarian will do so. Most veterinary clinics have tests that can be completed at the clinic to determine if your dog is suffering from canine minute virus.

Your veterinarian may also wish to do a complete blood count, urinalysis, and abdominal x-rays or ultrasound. These tests will help rule out other possible causes for the symptoms that have presented and give your veterinarian a better idea of what is causing your dog to be ill.

Treatment of Canine Minute Virus in Dogs

Once your veterinarian has definitively diagnosed canine minute virus, immediate hospitalization will be recommended for your dog. This will include continual monitoring; intravenous fluid and nutritional therapy will be given to help your dog not become severely dehydrated. Your veterinarian and their staff will closely monitor your dog’s vital signs, electrolyte and protein levels. If your dog is vomiting, no oral medications should be given. 

There are no medications available to treat canine minute virus in dogs. Your veterinarian will only be able to treat the symptoms and keep your dog hydrated while the virus runs its course. Anti-emetics may be given to help alleviate nausea and vomiting. Anti-diarrhea medications will also be given. Antibiotics may be given through their IV to keep any possible secondary bacterial infections from occurring. 

Your veterinarian will keep your dog hospitalized until they are certain the symptoms have fully subsided and your dog is on the road to recovery. Canine minute virus is a deadly virus that, if not treated immediately, will cause death.

Recovery of Canine Minute Virus in Dogs

Your dog’s prognosis will be guarded until your veterinarian sees how well your dog responds to supportive therapy. Without immediate veterinary care, your dog could die from canine minute virus. It is important to seek treatments as soon as you notice any symptoms. 

As your dog is recovering from canine minute virus, they will be a carrier of the virus for several weeks. The virus will be shedding from their body through their feces and will put other dogs at risk that come into contact with the contaminated feces. Keep your dog in isolation for at least two weeks after they are deemed recovered and pick up any feces immediately and properly dispose of them. 

The virus can survive for long periods of time on surfaces such as soil, concrete, bowls, toys, etc. These areas and items need to be washed with a diluted bleach solution to ensure that the virus is killed. 

Prevent your dog from contracting canine minute virus by making sure that your dog has their appropriate vaccinations. If you have a puppy, avoid all places that will have dogs until your puppy’s immune system has matured and they have completed their puppy vaccination series. This will help limit their exposure to other dogs that may be infected or carrying the virus.