How to Help Your Pup Through Parvovirus
Parvovirus is a serious viral disease that is spread through bodily fluids such as saliva and excrement. This disease comes on what seems to be very suddenly. Once it is contracted, it lies dormant in the body for 7 to 10 days, weakening the immune system and attacking the intestinal lining. This causes the intestines to slough off and slowly disintegrate, resulting in bloody diarrhea. It is very uncomfortable and painful for your pet and once contracted parvo can take weeks to recover from. The cause of death is not usually the virus itself, but the dehydration and malnutrition that often occurs during the illness.
Parvo moves quickly, especially in puppies therefore it should be treated by a vet as soon as systems occur. They will give your pup antibiotics, special diet food and possibly fluids under the skin to keep her hydrated. You may not see it right away...one day your dog will be fine and the next she will be very tired, sluggish, have a lack in appetite, and I also find that when my dogs had an outbreak they all made the same distressed facial expressions.
Unlike rabies, Parvo is not transferable to humans, but contact with stray animals can leave the virus on your clothes, shoes, and hands. So be sure to change and wash yourself off before touching another animal and then touching your own pets.
If you are unable to see a vet or are in dire circumstances, then I would recommend trying the tips below that I've used to help my pup get through it. If you are financially unable to pay for medication up front some vets will give you a credit check and approve you credit for some or all of your expenses.
- Things to Consider Before Getting A Puppy or Dog
Pets are not Christmas gifts or toys. They are a lifelong commitment that should be taken seriously. Keep these things in mind before adopting a dog.
My Experience With Parvo
My 12 week old puppy came into contact with another who had Parvo, of which I was unaware. I noticed changes in her behavior after 2 to 3 day span. She became a little less playful, slept more and had very little appetite. On the fourth day she was whining a lot, becoming very warm and feverish, and having loose, bloody bowel movements. At this point take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. At this stage it could take 48 or less for your dog to die from dehydration or infection.
I went to Banfield Animal Hospital and had to pay almost $500 for treatment. I suggest making an appointment with your vet or SNAP. Also, once they start exhibiting the early symptoms of fatigue and no appetite, you need to start treatment so that your pet does not become weak and treatment does not become too expensive.
Above All, STAY CALM!
It does neither you nor your pet any good if you are up all night crying and worrying. If the vet is closed and you can't get to an emergency clinic, do your best to keep them comfortable and don't forget to take care of yourself too. Sometimes we make it worse in our heads when we don't know what the real problem is.
The First Step
Quarantine your dog, parvo spreads quickly and other animals need to be protected from the carrier. Place her somewhere that is going to be undisturbed, secluded, where she will feel secure and able to relax, rest is very important for your dog to overcome the infection.
You must sterilize EVERYTHING, and I do mean everything. Parvovirus can live up to 7 months in grass and dirt, therefore bleach it is usually procedure to spread across the lawn and any locations your dog has used the restroom.
Wash your hands and arms thoroughly after administering medication or having any kind of physical contact with your pet or your pets' medications. Change your clothes as well, Parvo spreads quickly and you do not want to infect other dogs in your home.
Clorox any accidents and always dispose of the waste properly. Do not put it in your yard or bury it because it can still spread.
Hydration and Food
SInce Parvovirus attacks the intestinal lining, most dogs are unable to consume food the way they normally would. For most it causes discomfort and nausea, thus they refuse to eat or drink anything. If she won't eat, at the very least she MUST drink plenty of fluid. As an owner you may have to assist and encourage your puppy to drink, you can do this by buying a plastic syringe from Walgreens or any CVS Pharmacy. Give your puppy about 10cc's of water every half hour, every 20 minutes would be better if she can handle it. You may need a bigger syringe and you may need to give it more often depending on the size and weight of your specific breed.
I also tried giving her pedialyte and small amounts of gatorade which seemed to help quite a bit...but again, this depends on your dog. If it seems to upset her stomach or cause vommitting then you may need to try something else, or just stick with plain water. As far as food goes, my puppy could not eat very much and I did not push her to do so...instead i would cook very small portions of white steamed rice and offer it to her...I emphasize SMALL portions, remember, parvo attacks the intestinal lining so digestion is difficult. Your puppy may lose weight, this is normal, the most important to focus on is keeping her hydrated, which will also help with fever levels. If she has a fever you'll be able to feel it on her head and her belly. Try to keep her next to a fan if possible or in a well ventilated area.
Most of all keep your puppy in a calm, relaxed, low stress environment. She needs quiet and lots of rest. After she gets over the hump you may start to see improvement, she'll eat more and want to get up and run around. This is fantastic news, however you still need to treat her as if she is extremely sick for about a month. She needs to take it easy, try not to overdo it with exercise, and keep the food rations monitored, her digestive tract is still healing and going back to hard foods too quickly could agitate the stomach.
Don't ever discipline your dog for having an accident when ill. Even if they are house trained, think about how you feel when you're sick. Sometimes you have accidents, it can be stressful and humiliating, especially if someone's yelling at you. This will not have any affect on their overall training or behavior, they are simply ill and cannot control their tummies at this point. Be kind and be patient with them.
To prevent this from ever happening again, get your puppy vaccinated. This is the most effective way to stop this virus from infecting your pup.
My final words...
Caring for a dog or puppy with parvovirus is not an easy undertaking, its not as simple as doing one or two things and solving the problem. It is exhausting. There will be nights where you won't get much sleep, either because of the groaning your dog does or because of the frequent liquid stools that need to be cleaning. There have to be round the clock scheduled feedings and antibiotics. For dogs who refuse to drink, they must be forced to drink through a syringe every 20 minutes to every half to keep them from succumbing to dehydration.
Don't ever give up on your pet though. On the fourth to fifth day, your dog will probably be feeling pretty weak but should be recovering by this point. Be patient.
To my fellow dog lovers, we all agree that our dogs are more than just pets, they are our family, they take the roles of children for some of us and losing them is just as hard as losing a real child. I hope that if you know someone who is going through this you will show them support during such a difficult time and reach out to those who need help with it.
Thank you for reading hubpagers! Please support your local animal shelters, volunteer, adopt, foster, and report abuse wherever you see it.
IF YOU DO SUSPECT YOUR DOG HAS PARVO, TAKE THEM TO THE VET IMMEDIATELY!! This Hub is meant for preventive measures and after care only. I cannot diagnose your dog, take them to a vet as soon as symptoms occur. PLEASE DO NOT wait for a response from me as I am unable to treat your pet. If you are unable to see a vet, keep your dog hydrated, isolated from other animals, sterilize everything.
It may not be Parvo, don't panic!
While it is extremely important to treat symptoms early, certain breeds are genetically predisposed to allergies and infections. There are also many different reasons that your dog could be experiencing illness or parvo-like symptoms. Keep an eye out, and if its beyond your control seek a vet.
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