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Hello. My partner and I are in the process of adopting a golden retriever from a small breeder in Virginia. However, the breeder emailed us saying that the litter was exposed to parvovirus and will be kept under watch for the next few weeks. She later came back a few days later saying that a majority of them have died, but ours is still asymptomatic and doing fine. She said a vet is supervising them; however, when I asked if she can give paperwork guaranteeing it won't have Parvo if it comes home, she said "I'm sure the vet won't guarantee anything." Is there not a test they can do?
We asked when the next letter will be arriving, because maybe it'd be safer to get a healthier pup from a new litter altogether, she said next week. What are the odds the yard and house is entirely disinfected by then?

I have two senior cats that are vaccinated but have immunodeficiency diseases, so I'm outstandingly worried. I want to be absolutely sure the dog never had the disease or has any trace of it. Is it a bad move to work with this breeder altogether?
 

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Oh geez avoid like the plague! The house is probably not clean, no vet is going to guarantee against parvo if the puppy has been exposed. Find a more responsible breeder. Very rarely does parvo occur with responsible breeding practices.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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So many things to know that aren't stated. So let me write in general.

If this puppy was exposed to Parvo and survived, it will likely have some level of protection. Maybe not from the exposure, but possibly from mom. I would say that if the puppy was exposed early in life and did not become ill, it would be fairly safe to bring this puppy home at 8 weeks. The risky point would be later, when the maternal antibodies dissipate below the critical threshold, if there is still the virus in the environment. If the puppy is then exposed again (or still) before it can develop immunity, he could get sick and die. But by and large, Parvo rips through litters like wildfire, and the puppies who survive are safe and do well. Frankly, the best thing for the puppy is to get it out of that house.

I don't know if the unaffected puppies were separated from the affected ones, whether all unaffected puppies received prophylactic efforts, what level of maternal antibodies are in the puppy's system, or a dozen other things, so I can't say anything definitively. And it also depends on what age the puppies are when they were exposed. If they were exposed at 4 weeks old, and the puppy makes it to 8 weeks, I think you're in the clear. If the puppies were exposed at 7 weeks, and she wants to send the puppy to you at 8 weeks, I'd hold off. But with the little bit of information you've given us, there's not enough to make any kind of definitive statement. Just that Parvo kills litters, and puppies who get sick but survive and recover without complication will be immune and do fine.

But again, the best thing for an unaffected puppy is to get out of the viral environment and into a safe home. And if the puppy is in your home for a week without getting sick, then he won't have Parvo from the previous exposure. (He could, of course, be exposed at your house, too.)
 

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Noreaster
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Dana, any concern that the puppy might shed parvo in their home/yard while being asymptomatic? Maybe it only matters if they have other puppies visiting or if they take this pup to a puppy class?
 

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Yes it could. Parvo lives in the ground for up to a year, especially where the climate is more temperate. Also keep in mind if that pup had it and survived, a lot of times the fever goes so high that the pups brain is damaged. So you may have a pup that "survived" but wont be the dog it could've been.
 

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If this puppy has not gotten sick, then he has some level of immunity. YES, there is a test for parvo, at the very least the test should be run on every puppy in the litter. If this puppy had parvo and has recovered, there is no way to know if there is any residual damage. My dog had parvo at 4 months old (before I got him), he recovered from the major symptoms, but had residual GI issues until he was almost a year old.

DO NOT get a puppy from the next litter. Parvo remains in the environment for up to a year old, or longer. I would be very concerned the next litters will also contract parvo. In fact it's almost certain they will because there is no good way to completely sanitize the home/yard.
 
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