What you need to know:
Please take the time to read the information on this page because it could mean the difference between life and death. I'm not exaggerating, I've seen Parvo in action and it can be devastating.
There is no time to 'wait-and-see' when it comes to this disease.
The most common symptoms of Parvo in include:
All of these symptoms can also appear in other illnesses, and it's not possible to diagnose Parvo on the basis of symptoms alone.
The only way to know for sure if Canine Parvovirus is what's making your pup sick is to have your veterinarian run some tests.
A fecal test (when your vet tests a sample of your puppy's feces for the virus) is often used, and a blood serum test is also available.
Both of these tests can give provide a quick answer, but they can also show 'false negatives' (ie no virus shows up in the tested sample).
This type of test can also show a 'false positive' if your pup has been vaccinated with the live vaccine within the previous 2 weeks, so it's important to let your vet know when his last vaccinations were given.
Parvo is transmitted through contact with the feces of an infected dog.
Canine Parvovirus is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS, just one stool contains millions of live virus cells and can infect many dogs/puppies.
The virus can be found in the stools of infected puppies several days before any symptoms show up, and for at least 2 weeks after a puppy has completely recovered.
YOU need to be extra careful too.
Don't wear your outdoor shoes inside the house and wash your hands carefully after being in contact with other dogs.
Other animals can unintentionally spread Parvo too. If you live in the country you need to be aware of this because birds and small mammals can carry the virus on their paws and track it through your yard.
Because Parvo is a virus, it can't be cured with antibiotics, but antibiotics are often used to treat the secondary infections that usually go hand-in-hand with this disease.
The main treatment for canine parvovirus is hospitalization where your pup/dog can get...
This is called 'supportive care'.
Statistics show that around 80% of puppies will die from Parvo if they're not treated quickly, this type of care is absolutely essential and gives your puppy the best possible chance of survival.
It's vitally important to get the treatment started right away, that's why any puppy who's showing sudden onset symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting and who seems lethargic or disinterested in food or his surroundings, needs to be seen by a vet IMMEDIATELY.
Even a 24 hour delay wait could be deadly.
Individual puppies can react quite differently to this disease,
and although early diagnosis and treatment is vital, it's not a
guarantee of recovery.
The most acute phase of the illness usually lasts somewhere between 7 and 14 days, and if a puppy survives this long he has a good chance of making a full recovery.
Some puppies get extremely sick, for what feels like an extended period of time, then recover. Others get sick quickly, and die quickly. Some appear to be recovering and then relapse, possibly even dying.
It's exhausting and gut wrenching for both puppy and owner, but with prompt and full veterinary care most puppies DO get through that critical period and then slowly regain their strength and start on the path back to normal life.
It's not always the biggest 'strongest' puppies that win the battle either, you simply can't tell by looking.
Veterinary diagnosis and care isn't just an option with Parvo, it's an absolute necessity.
Although your little one may have survived the disease itself, he will probably look a very sorry sight when you get him home.
Puppies who have had to fight parvo often lose most of their body fat, which means their head
and paws look much too big for their frame.
Your puppies eyes may still be dull, and he may still have little appetite. He'll definitely be tired and need plenty of rest.
This can be quite frightening, but it's perfectly normal. He's been through an ordeal and needs time to rest and recover.
Here's what you can do to help:
In spite of his initial condition, you'll be surprised how quickly your puppy will 'bounce back', and within a few weeks his little body will start to fill out, his appetite and strength will return and soon he'll be his old self again.
Most likely he'll also usually have a life-long immunity to canine parvovirus.
But please remember that he will still be at risk of transmitting the virus to other dogs for two to three weeks after being pronounced 'recovered'.
During this time it's important to keep little Fido away from other dogs or puppies so they don't get sick too.
I think Dawn has a very good point there, and after a battle with Parvo a puppy certainly needs all the help he can get. Anything that can help rebuild his immune system has got to be a plus.
A pro-biotic product especially designed for dogs and cats such as Only Natural Pet Probiotic Blend is another excellent way to help restore the balance of microbes in your pets' digestive system.
Thanks Dawn for taking the time to share your experience! Much appreciated.
It's important to know that the parvo virus itself is extremely hardy and difficult to 'kill'. It can live on multiple surfaces and in the ground for a long period of time.
When in the soil, canine parvovirus is not dramatically affected by heat, rain, cold, frost or any other climatic condition.
If the ground is frozen it basically puts the virus into a 'dormant' state and when the ground thaws there is still a risk of contamination.
If you don't treat/disinfect the ground, this is what you can expect....
Areas in direct sunlight - contamination lasts approx. 6 months, but could be longer
Areas in shade - contamination lasts approx. 8 months to 1 year
Parvovirus becomes inactive much more quickly indoors than it does outside.
Normally contamination will last for approximately 1 - 3 months inside your home.
The most effective way to kill parvovirus is with a 1:20 solution of bleach and water.
Obviously, if your pup has had Parvo and survived, he's no longer at risk from the re-contamination but other un-vaccinated dogs and puppies could easily become infected if they come into contact with the live virus in the ground.
Although it's impossible to say that anything will completely destroy parvo-virus, the most effective decontamination method is to use a solution of household bleach and water.
You can clean everything - floors, toys, walls, crates etc. - with a bleach/water solution (a 1:30 solution is often suggested, personally I would tend to make it a little stronger, perhaps 1:20).
It's important to make sure the bleach/water solution remains on the surfaces/objects that you're cleaning for at least 20 minutes.
Soak bowls, toys, mats and so on in the solution if possible, or at least wipe over thoroughly and don't dry off right away. You can rinse and dry them after the 20 minutes is up.
You can also spray or soak the ground outside with this same strength solution and use it to clean any concrete/asphalt areas your puppy may have used.
Although it's not practical for many surfaces/objects, steam-cleaning is a
form of sterilization that will deactivate the parvo virus.
It's always a good idea to steam clean carpets if you've had an infected puppy in the home. The fibers in carpets can trap traces of the virus which may remain active for several months.
Steam-cleaning or sterilizing bowls, toys etc. is also pretty easy, especially if you have a steam sterilizer for baby bottles or something similar.
There are two ways that you can protect your pup from catching Parvovirus , used together they give little Fido the best chance of staying safe and healthy.
Getting the proper vaccinations, at the right time, is the #1 best way to protect your puppy from Parvo.
A full series of shots (usually three) need to be given before your puppy is fully protected.
It's also good to remember that immunity doesn't happen the instant that third shot is given. It's a good idea to wait at least 48 hours before taking your pup out and about, just to be safe.