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Can Cats Get Parvo From Dogs?

In a few words, the answer to the question “Can cats get parvo from dogs? ” is yes, but it is rare.

Questions about this disease often leave confusion in cat and dog parents as research as not fully clarified the evolution of this disease between the two species. Here are a few helpful answers from what we know about Parvo from dogs to cats.

In this article:

  • Defining parvo
  • Can cats get parvo from dogs
  • Symptoms
  • Treatment
  • Prevention

What is Parvo ?

Can cats get parvo from dogs?

Dog Parvo VS Cat Parvo (Feline Panleukopenia)

Cats do get parvo, but in most cases, it is from their very own strain of the virus, specific to felines.

Even though we don’t often hear of them, there are literally dozens of members of the Parvoviridae family of viruses. It was believed that each of these viruses was exclusive to its own species.

Canine parvo is indeed different than cat parvo/feline parvo.

Confusion often occurs around parvo virus as the Parvo virus in dogs is very closely related to the virus panleukopenia: the virus that causes Parvo in cat (otherwise known as distemper in cats).

This article will focus on dog parvo and its ability to be transmitted to cats. We will not be talking much about cat parvo (panleukopenia that is specific to cats and well prevented with the proper vaccination).

Both viruses attack cells within the pet’s bone marrow. Because bone marrow is where white blood cells are produced, your pet’s defense against disease suffers. When white cells are few in number the consequence is often serious or even fatal illness. But again, those two viruses, even if very similar are different.

Dog Parvo

Canine parvovirus is an infectious disease of the dog. It is due to a parvovirus, the canine parvovirus type 2 (Canine ParvoVirus 2 or CPV 2), transmitted between dogs by direct contact or by their excrements. Parvovirosis manifests itself by intestinal problems (gastroenteritis), and more rarely cardiac attacks, the outcome of which can be fatal (up to 91% of mortality in the absence of treatment).

There is also a canine parvovirus type 1, called Minute Virus of Canines (MVC) responsible for abortions (embryonic mortality) and neonatal mortality or in puppies under two months of age.

Can cats get parvo from dogs?

Yes, but it is rare and seems mostly harmless although the understanding of dog parvo in cats is still quite obscure.

A strain of CPV2b virus (FP84 strain) causes the disease in a small percentage of domestic cats but CPV2 itself does not seem to cause major symptoms in cats at the moment.

In fact, cats are merely asymptomatic.

can cats catch parvo from dogsParvovirus infection and symptoms

The Canine Parvovirus is highly contagious among dogs. It spreads when a non-vaccinated pet, usually a puppy, contacts directly (via touch) or indirectly (via an object like a ball) an infected dog.

Symptoms of Parvo in dogs are:

  • lethargy
  • abdominal pain and swelling
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • red gums and eyes
  • rapid heartbeat
  • severe, bloody diarrhea.

As mentionned earlier, Parvo in dogs results in death 90 percent of the time if it is left to run its course.

Cats are different.

Cats that carry dog parvo are asymptomatic, which means that despite being a reservoir for dog parvo, they normally do not show any symptoms nor are they in particular danger.

Treating Parvo

Don’t try to treat parvo at home. Your dog must be quarantined to protect other dogs and given intravenous fluids to counteract dehydration. It is usually the complications of dehydration that kills these animals.

Parvo pups are usually treated with IV antibiotics and given anti-nausea medication. Therefore, if you suspect your puppy has parvo, take him to the veterinarian immediately, time is of the essence.

For a cat that would have caught dog parvo, the best course of action is to ask your vet. Just make sure to contain the virus and that your cat does not spread it to another dog for which it would have much more serious consequences. Keep in mind that the evolution of dog parvo in cats is still obscure.

Parvo prevention? Vaccination!

As always, prevention is the very best answer. To prevent this dog killer disease, make sure your puppy gets his shots on schedule. A dog that is lucky enough to survive the Parvovirus develops a long-term immunity to the virus.

Nevertheless, even parvo survivors need to follow the inoculation schedule for the sake of certainty.

Same goes for your cat. FPLV based vaccine will protect your cat from feline parvo / feline panleukopenia virus and according to studies may also be effective against dog parvo infection.

can my dog give my cat parvo

Final Thoughts: Can Cats Get Parvo from Dogs?

If your puppy has Parvo, you’re safe and so should your kitty be but always exercise a word of caution. Make sure the whole gang is fully vaccinated so their immune system can properly respond in case of contact.

Your little woofenbarker, on the other hand, must see his vet immediately.

It’s important that you keep your puppy inside as much as possible. Contact a vet to schedule an appointment for his shots.

So there yo have it! Cats can get Parvo from dogs but it seems pretty rare.


Sunday 25th of July 2021

I'm worried cus my husband found a puppy nd brought it in our house nd I have a mother cat that has 6 kittens that are only 2 weeks nd 5 days old I don't let the puppy near the baby kittens but momma cat comes out of her room nd the puppy licks her I try to stop her from doing it but it happens sometimes I am very attached to momma nd her baby kittens nd I will be devastated if I loose them the puppy has very loose stools nd I just seen something Gooey with blood in it come out of the puppys butt please help

The Fluffy Kitty

Saturday 7th of August 2021

Hi Susannah, how is your cat and kitties doing? I can only recommend phoning the vet if you have an emergency. In most cases, you can call just to ask if the situation requires coming in or not, before you go ahead and do it.

Adrian Quinonez

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

I don’t know what to believe some things on the internet says cat can get infected by a dog with Parvo and then others say no it can’t infect cats I’d really like to know which is it?

The Fluffy Kitty

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

Hi Adrian, sure! Parvo is species-specific so cats can get parvo but not the same strand dogs get. Parvo in cats can spread to other cats, but can't infect other species. We recommend always asking your local vet for clarification if you are unsure!