This virus that we commonly refer to as “parvo” is a very distressing illness that will hurt the pet owners almost as much as the pet himself because watching your doggie suffer is heart wrenching. This viral infection will really have your pet looking miserable. If you can get your dog to an emergency vet, intense care can begin. Of course, the best care is prevention, so keeping dog waste from piling up, and keeping other pets from coming into contact with dog waste is crucial to keeping a healthy puppy.
The Warning Signs of Parvo Infection
The warning signs of parvo infection are vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, and even a depressed demeanor. You can get tests for the parvo virus, but in the meantime, you should always treat the pet for these symptoms. Most parvo deaths will occur within the first couple days of infection.
The dog’s chance of survival will, at least in part, depend on how quickly you get him or her to the vet hospital. The age and health of the dog also play their part. Parvo will cause dehydration and intestinal damage if it goes untreated for an extended amount of time. IV fluids will almost always be administered to counter the severe diarrhea (which can be bloody). This diarrhea is the major cause of the dehydration, and a symptom of the intestinal damage. The IV fluid will be some combination of electrolytes, antibiotics, and antiemetics. Your vet will use the size of the dog to determine how much fluid needs to be maintained as the dog loses it through the frequent bowel movements.
One unique technique that only a well-stocked vet hospital will have is the use of blood plasma transfusions from dogs that are immune to the parvo virus. Some animal hospitals will actually have these dogs present and available; others will store their blood plasma. This method can lend passive immunity to the dog being treated.
As the dog begins to recover, the intravenous fluid treatment can be stopped and normal feeding and hydration can commence. The recovering animal will probably have been in the hospital for around two or three days before being well enough to go home. In worse conditions, a pup can be sick from one to two weeks. Established, conventional parvo treatments have come a long way, but there is still no guarantee of survival. Prevention through vaccination and hygiene is extremely important to avoiding this kind of tragedy.
The parvo virus survives for a very long time in the environment. It can live up to a year in any area that has come into contact with contaminated dog feces. Once you have had a parvo outbreak, you should never allow any unvaccinated dogs to visit your home. Dogs that have successfully recovered from parvo infection remain contagious for around three weeks, but a pup can even infect other dogs for up to six.
With all that being said, aggressive treatment can dramatically impact survival rates. If you get early treatment for your pup, there is a likelihood of survival somewhere north of eighty percent, so most likely, your doggie will pull through. Just be vigilant and follow all your doctor’s orders. Once you take your pet home, you may want to give them a sports drink instead of just water for another day or two to make sure they are fully nourished.
With adequate prevention methods being adhered to, canine parvo will most likely never be an issue for you. If symptoms are noticed, quick and thorough care will make a bout with parvo nothing but an unpleasant, yet distant memory soon.
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Miles loves his pets and yours. He writes on a variety of pet related subjects across the internet in the hope that something he contributes may help someone somewhere with their own pet related quandary. This blog posting was written on behalf of one of the greatest emergency vets Cincinnati has to offer, Beechmont Pet Hospital.