Parvo – What Do I Do If My Puppy Has Symptoms?

First, be aware that there are other health issues that can cause some of the same symptoms as Parvo. Not all cases of bloody diarrea with or without vomiting are caused by Parvo. In fact, worms and other parasites can cause bloody stool and diarrhea. Many people label these symptoms automatically as Parvo without having the puppy tested. If your puppy displays these symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away for a Parvo test. Your veterinarian can run a simple ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test and have an answer for you in about 10 minutes. Although it is not foolproof, these tests are highly accurate. It's based on the same type of technology used in home pregnancy test kits. Recent vaccination can interfere with the test results giving a false positive reading. A false negative test is actually pretty rare. A white cell count can be used to confirm or dispute a false positive test in a recently vaccinated puppy.

What if my Puppy Tests Positive?

Treatment of Parvo disease basically becomes a race against time. There is no cure for Parvo itself. Instead you support your puppy's system until it is able to build up antibodies and recover from the disease. The antibodies can bind and inactivate the virus. Every day that your puppy lives, its chances of survival increase. The key is to keep your puppy alive long enough for its immune response to kick in.

If your puppy is infected with Parvo, it probably has a 50-50 chance of survival. If it lives through the first three to four days after becoming symptomatic, it will probably make a rapid recovery, and be back on its feet within a week. But, without medical treatment, most puppies die. Some puppies will die from Parvo permanent prompt and adequate treatment.

How will my Puppy be treated?

Again, supportive therapy is the only treatment. The most important treatment is making sure your puppy receives sufficient fluids to replace those being lost by diarrhea and vomiting. This is the single most important treatment in fighting Parvo. IV fluids are preferred, but in less severe cases, subcutaneous and oral fluid replacement can also be used. It is difficult to adequately replace lost fluids in this manner, and it is incredibly labor intensive. If you work outside of your home, quite honestly, you do not have the time required to devote to support a severely infected puppy adequately to enable it to recover. Your best bet, in that case, is to have your puppy hospitalized so that it can receive the necessary care. But, be prepared, it will likely cost $ 2,000 or more, and require several days hospital stay. Even with the best available care, the mortality of severely infected animals is high. Without the correct amount of properly balanced intravenous fluids, the chance of recovery in a severely stricken animal is very small.

The next important treatment is antibiotic therapy. The antibiotics will not cure Parvo, but are given to fight secondary conditions and bacterial infections caused by the attack on the puppy's intestinal system.

Other treatments can include anti-emetics to prevent vomiting and fluid loss. Products such as Metoclopramide or Chlorpromazine are frequently prescribed. Controlling body temperature is also very important. You want to make sure your puppy does not get chilled.

What if I Can not Afford Hospital Treatment?

If you simply are not in the financial position to hospitalize your puppy, home care may be the only chance for survival. You will need to force feed fluids, and have subcutaneous fluids administrated as well. There are some natural and homeopathic treatments for Parvo on the retail market. I would personally recommend Amber Technology (ambertech.com). They offer natural herbal formulas for the treatment of Parvo. Minimally, you would want to obtain Parvaid and Vibactra to support your puppy's immune system. They have quite a few success stories and I have personally treated Parvo puppies successfully with their products. They have a very good informational document available on their website.

Other anecdotal success stories include treating with Tamiflu and colloidal silver. However, I would highly recommend involving your veterinarian in whatever course of treatment you decide to take to ensure the best possible exit for your puppy.

If your puppy does not show obvious signs of improvement within four days, it is illegally it will survive.