The Breeder Blog

Guide to Testing For Parvo At Home

by Phenyx Media on Oct 10, 2023

Guide to Testing For Parvo At Home

Parvovirus, a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease among dogs, is a significant concern for pet owners. This comprehensive guide explores at-home parvo tests, providing insights, tips, and detailed instructions. Let's dive into this essential tool for protecting your furry friend's health.

As a responsible pet owner, ensuring your dog's health is a top priority. Parvovirus can strike quickly and be fatal if not detected early. In this guide, we will walk you through the world of at-home parvo tests, including understanding parvovirus, the benefits of these tests, and how to use them effectively.

Understanding Parvovirus

two white puppies sitting in grass

Parvovirus, often referred to as "parvo," is a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease among dogs. It primarily affects the gastrointestinal system, leading to severe symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Puppies under five months and unvaccinated dogs are particularly susceptible.

Benefits of At-Home Testing

At-home parvo tests offer several crucial advantages:

  • Convenience: These tests can be performed in the comfort of your home, reducing stress for both you and your pet.
  • Cost-Effective: At-home tests are an affordable option compared to frequent vet visits.
  • Quick Results: You can obtain results in just a few minutes, allowing for immediate action if necessary.

How At-Home Parvo Tests Work

parvo test for puppies

Using at-home parvo tests is relatively straightforward. Each kit typically includes the following:

  • Test Swabs: Used for collecting a fecal sample from your dog.
  • Collection Tubes: To store and transport the samples.
  • Test Cassettes: These are sealed in foil pouches and can be stored for over a year at room temperature.

Steps to Use the Home Parvo Test Kit

Before you start, ensure you're in a clean, well-lit area, and follow these steps:

Collect the Sample: Using the provided collection tube and swab, gather a fresh fecal sample from your dog.

Prepare the Test: Open the foil pouch and remove the test cassette. Avoid touching the test window in the middle of the cassette.

Apply the Sample: Use the swab to apply the fecal sample to the test cassette.

Wait for Results: The test typically takes between 10-15 minutes to process.

Interpreting the Results

The test cassette provides clear results:

  • Control Line (C) Only: Indicates a negative test.
  • Control Line (C) and Test Line (T): Indicates a positive test, suggesting a parvovirus infection.
  • No Lines or Only Test Line (T): Signifies an invalid test; try again with a new kit.
  • Positive results, especially when accompanied by symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and dehydration, are a reliable indicator of a parvovirus infection. If your dog tests positive, contact your veterinarian immediately.


This test should only be used for dogs displaying symptoms of parvovirus infection. Keep in mind that recent vaccination (within 7 days) with a modified-live virus parvovirus vaccine can occasionally yield false positive results.

After the Test

Dispose of the used test kit and gloves properly. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after conducting the test.


At-home parvo tests provide pet owners with a valuable tool for early detection of a potentially deadly disease. By understanding how these tests work and following proper procedures, you can take proactive steps to protect your dog's health.

Remember that your veterinarian is always available for guidance and support.

FAQ on Testing For Parvo at Home

What is Parvovirus, and why is it dangerous for dogs?

Parvovirus, often referred to as "parvo," is a highly contagious virus that primarily affects the gastrointestinal system of dogs. It can lead to severe symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, potentially resulting in dehydration and death if left untreated.

Who should consider using an at-home parvo test?

At-home parvo tests are ideal for pet owners who want a convenient and cost-effective way to monitor their dog's health. They are especially useful for puppies under five months of age and dogs who have not been vaccinated against parvovirus.

How accurate are at-home parvo tests?

At-home parvo tests have a high degree of accuracy when used correctly. However, it's essential to follow the instructions carefully to ensure reliable results. If you have any doubts about the test results, consult your veterinarian for confirmation.

Can I use an at-home parvo test on a healthy dog as a preventive measure?

No, at-home parvo tests should only be used on dogs displaying symptoms of parvovirus infection. Testing healthy dogs may yield inaccurate results, and it's not a substitute for regular veterinary care and vaccination.

What should I do if my dog tests positive for parvovirus using the at-home test?

If your dog tests positive, it's crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. Parvovirus can be a life-threatening condition, and early treatment is essential for the best chance of recovery. Your vet will provide guidance on the next steps and treatment options.