Can dogs catch Parvo twice?

Summed up... Miko is 4 months old. We got her at 8 weeks old. One day after we got her she got Parvo and Coccidia,...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Mar 4th 2008

Summed up… Miko is 4 months old. We got her at 8
weeks old. One day after we got her she got Parvo
and Coccidia, which of course gave her horrible
diarrhea. She luckily lived through that. She has
since been to the vet several times, had blood
work and fecal tests, and they have come back
clean. She has also had all of her shots now as
well. She still has really watery diarrhea.

Could her stomach or intestines be damaged from
the Parvo, and if so, how long till she starts
having regular bowel movements?

Miko acts perfectly fine, but I can’t imagine
her poor bum feals good. Can you help!!!

ALSO!!! One vet told me that since she had Parvo,
she couldn’t get it again, and another vet told
me that wasn’t true. Can she still get it again
if she’s already had it?

Costa Mesa, CA

Wow. It sounds like Miko’s life got off to a rough start. You have asked several questions, and I’ll try to address them one by one.

First, let’s talk about Parvo. Parvovirus (aka Parvo) is an extremely contagious disease of dogs. It occurs mainly in puppies, or in dogs that have not been vaccinated. The bad news: many dogs that contract Parvovirus die. The good news: dogs that do not die (such as Milo) almost always make complete recoveries. They usually do not suffer long-term health consequences. The intestines should heal quite rapidly.

Also, there are no 100% guarantees about anything in this world, but I can tell you that it is extremely unlikely that Miko could contract parvo again. Most dogs that live through parvo develop permanent immunity.

Now, let’s talk about Coccidia. Coccidia are ubiquitous microscopic intestinal parasites that infect huge numbers of puppies and kittens. They rarely cause serious health problems, but they can lead to long-term, frustrating watery diarrhea. They are hard to treat, and sometimes several rounds of medication are necessary to eliminate the problem.

Based on your description, I am suspicious that Coccidia may be playing a role in Miko’s ongoing diarrhea. You may want to consider treating for the parasite again, or doing a special fecal test (zinc sulfate centrifugation) that is more sensitive than standard fecal tests.

Of course, other parasites (such as worms, which also can be missed by some fecal tests), reactions to foods, inflammatory bowel disease, or (and this is unlikely) lingering damage from Parvovirus infection could be playing a role in Miko’s problems. But my hunch is that the Coccidia are the culprits. I recommend that you and your vet go after them first. If that doesn’t work, it will be time to do an extensive investigation into the problem with comprehensive diagnostic tests.