Parvovirus is one of the commonest and worst diseases out there. If you live in an area where parvo occurs and your puppy is not vaccinated against it, the odds of his contracting the disease are 90 %.
Parvo mostly affects puppies between the ages of 3 and 9 months.
Younger puppies invariably die from the disease without even showing the later stage symptoms- they may show some abdominal pain, lack of appetite and depression, but they're dead before any of the other symptoms occur.
The odds of an older puppy or dog getting it are lower, but if it does, it will probably show the same symptoms as a puppy within the target age group.
Parvovirus is an enteric disease, meaning it affects the digestive system. It is a very severe illness, and in some cases can cause permanent damage to the intestines or stomach. If a puppy survives parvo without treatment, he may still have long term problems due to the disease.
We had an instance where two three month old puppies, a male and a female, contracted parvo and did not recieve any treatment except oral hydration.
A third puppy, another female, did not contract the disease at all.
The female puppy who did get the disease recovered in about a week, and at 4 years old, is doing fine.
Her brother was not so lucky. He recovered in about a week and a half, but ever afterward had chronic stomach trouble. He finally hemorrhaged and died a few months past his first birthday. With treatment and aftercare according to a veterinary prescription, his suffering and painful death might have been avoided.
Yes, your puppy MIGHT survive parvo without vet care. But do you really want to take the chance of his sickening and dying later on?
Up until lately, this disease was thought to be 100 % fatal. If your puppy got parvo, he had a death sentance, and you gave up on him and had him put down.
But this isn't so. With treatment, puppies can survive parvo!
The first symptoms of parvo are vomiting and diarrhea. The vomit may be a clear saliva like substance or it may be a greenish foam. The diarrhea is usually yellow at first and may be projectile.
These symptoms may disappear within a day of onset, and then reoccur several days later. Often they are prefaced by lethergy and lack of appetite.
Once the disease has set in and the vomiting and diarrhea have reoccured, the puppy will not eat. He will have diarrhea frequently and it will be projectile and without warning. He will vomit frequently, and soon will not be able to take any water without vomiting.
The puppy will appear extremely sick and miserable and may have abdominal pain- the abdomen will retract when you touch it, and his back may be arched slightly.
The projectile diarrhea may be brownish now and is very liquid.
Because of dehydration, the puppy will loose weight and will seem bony.
In between bouts of vomiting, he may drool thick saliva.
In an extreme case or after several days, the puppy will show blood in the diarrhea.
By the time a puppy shows these symptoms, he is very sick, and without treatment, he will die. He needs to see a vet immediately.
The treatment for parvo is inpatient vet care- at least two days on IV fluids. There is no cure, there is only hydrating the puppy.
What kills puppies with parvo is usually weakness and dehydration. The vets will tell you that with this treatment, the puppy has a 50/50 chance, but after ONE day on the IV, my five month old puppy, who was extremely sick and showing bloody diarrhea, was visibly better and after two days on it she came home and made a full recovery.
Her vet care ran about 300 dollars including the initial examination and parvo test, two days on the IV fluids, and the special food she needed afterward.
Yours may be a bit more or a bit less. But believe me, its worth it. And I think the chances are much better then 50/50 with the treatment.
The disease has a course of about five days of active symptoms. Most people aren't sure it's parvo until the puppy has been sick for several days, so after two days on the IV he's usually well on the way to recovery.
When they send your puppy home, they'll give you a sheet on his aftercare, which is fairly simple. It mostly involves hydration and how to start him back on oral food.
Some puppies will experiance periodic vomiting for about a week after starting back on oral food.
After two weeks are up since his recovery, your puppy needs to receive the three booster vaccinations for parvo, each one three weeks apart.
For two weeks after his recovery, your puppy will still be contagious and should be kept away from all other dogs and any public areas.
Clean any messes with nine parts water to one part bleach.
Parvovirus can live for two weeks outside the host animal, so even after your puppy is no longer shedding the virus there will be parvo germs in your house. Cleaning with the bleach solution will kill them.
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