Parvo in Puppies – What you need to know!
Puppies are vulnerable to a lot of diseases. They are young and their immune systems have not fully developed. Parvo is the kind of disease, though, that you would never want your puppy to contract. An illness like Parvo can have serious consequences for them.
What is Parvo in puppies?
Also commonly known as Parvo, the canine parvovirus (CPV) is a deadly infection that can have adverse consequences for puppies.
The virus can spread in multiples ways: if your dog interacts with another dog that already has the virus; if your dog touches something that is contaminated; or if your dog licks and inhales the scent of infected feces.
The canine parvovirus is a highly contagious disease that affects dogs between the age of six weeks and six months. It can cause your dog to have unpleasant diarrhea, lead to the loss of appetite and weight, and result in vomiting.
In this case, the virus can give rise to complications in the small intestine and stomach. It can also damage the gut barrier and negatively affect cells within the small intestine.
Another form of the canine parvovirus, though quite rare, is when it affects a puppy’s heart muscles. It can give birth to problems associated with the lymphatic tissues and bone marrow of a puppy as well.
So, if you are wondering what is parvo in puppies, remember, that it can reveal itself in two different ways: intestinal and cardiac.
What are the symptoms of parvo in puppies?
Dogs speak a language we cannot comprehend. That is why it is important we observe them closely and see if they display any behavioral changes.
As soon as you find your dog acting strangely, or showing symptoms that are associated any illness, you must go the vet immediately.
When it comes to parvo though, dogs display unique symptoms. They take approximately 3 to 7 days to show up. One of the first few symptoms that dogs might experience is diarrhea that has blood in it.
With bloody diarrhea, CPV can also make a dog have high fever that is characterized by vomiting.
Coupled with these symptoms comes an added sense of restlessness, a lack of energy, and weakness. The dog also gets feeble due to a low desire for eating food – an eating disorder known as anorexia.
This leads to severe dehydration, increasing the heartbeat and lowering the temperature of the puppy’s body. On the whole, the dog gets so sick that it might even get depressed.
These might not always be the symptoms of parvo in puppies. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, it is better to take it to the vet so that they can rule out all other possibilities and come up with an appropriate diagnosis.
What is the parvo survival rate in puppies?
Parvo is a fatal disease – you cannot sugarcoat it. However, if you take your dog to the vet at the right time, there are favorable chances of its survival. It is estimated that if the dog is treated by a veterinarian, the survival rate would be somewhere around 68 to 92 percent.
Dogs that get hospitalized due to parvo have a survival rate of 90 percent. Each dog has a different response to parvo, so their recovery time might not be similar.
On average, though, it takes approximately a week for a dog to go home and fully recover from parvo after being hospitalized. Some dogs might even take less time for recovery and be able to go home in 3 to 4 days after being hospitalized.
As the time period of recovery for each dog varies, it is hard to come up with a single parvo survival rate in puppies.
A veterinarian might be able to properly guide what protective measures should be taken for your dog to ensure a smooth journey back to normalcy.
Parvo vaccine for puppies
Before talking about parvo’s treatment, let’s dig a little deeper into how you can prevent your dog from contracting parvo at all.
You must make sure your dog is vaccinated against parvo. There are vaccinations against parvo for adult dogs as well as puppies.
Though puppies are already immune against parvo because of their mother’s immunity, they are supposed to get the first shot of the vaccine when they are approximately 6 to 8 weeks old after they have stopped feeding on their mother’s milk. They should subsequently get booster shots as well after 3 weeks.
Another preventative step you can take is to make sure you puppy stays away from other dogs that are not vaccinated against parvo. A parvo vaccine for puppies significantly lowers the risk of transmitting the virus.
You must be careful what setting you are introducing your puppy to – if there are any unvaccinated dogs around, they can potentially spread the virus to your puppy as well.
Avoid taking your dog to crowded spaces where there are too many dogs as that increases the likelihood of encountering an unvaccinated dog.
Do not be afraid that this means you will have to keep your puppy distant from all other dogs. There are many safe spaces – daycare facilities for dogs, classes for puppies, and boarding facilities – where you can take your puppy.
These places normally ask for proof of vaccination, so it will be safe to let your puppy interact with other dogs there.
How to treat parvo in puppies?
Your dog’s vet will properly diagnose whether it has parvo or not by checking for the most common symptoms and running a few tests. She might do that by examining your puppy’s blood or looking for antigens in your dog’s feces against the virus.
If the virus has already caused too much damage, your puppy’s immune system will have greatly been affected, and it might even be left with fewer white blood cells.
The ideal way you can treat parvo in puppies then is by making sure your dog gets to drink as much water as possible.
This will ease your puppy’s pain, and in addition to lightening nausea, it will reduce vomiting as well. It further relieves your puppy of a stomachache.
You must also get your puppy hospitalized if you are seriously thinking about how to treat parvo in puppies. Hospitalization will help keep your puppy hydrated and also allow it to be injected with vital fluids to make sure it remains healthy – known as fluid therapy.
You need not be opposed to the idea of getting your puppy hospitalized, as oftentimes it gets hard to treat puppies with parvo at home.
They face trouble with consuming medicines, drinking water, and eating food. For these reasons, if a puppy is hospitalized, a vet can carefully examine it.
They can provide it antibiotics to ward off further complications such as bacterial infections that might make your puppy even more ill.
Why you shouldn’t let your pup starve in parvo!
People commonly believe that it is best to make your puppy fast if it has parvo to relax the bowels. However, the truth is that it does more harm by raising the frequency of contractions within the intestines.
If the puppy is deprived of essential nutrients, it will experience what is described as “hunger pains”. If the puppy is provided healthy food, the contractions within the stomach will also begin to return to normal frequencies.
Another commonly held belief is that feeding promotes vomiting. Dogs experience the opposite effect though. It is true a dog might have increased vomiting on the first day it is provided adequate food on, but from the second day, the vomiting begins to decrease.
Feeding your dog food right from the beginning will also ensure its immune system does not get too compromised by the disease. The CPV attacks the immune system and lowers a puppy’s ability to fight against diseases, so a healthy diet with nutrients will help the dog maintain its strength.
Parvo in Puppies? The diet Plan!
The real question then remains unanswered: what can a puppy with parvo even eat? It is recommended that a puppy with parvo should eat multiple meals in a day that are smaller in size.
Even though a puppy might not be eager to eat food at first, once it begins to recover, it will naturally get healthy and want to eat more.
Veterinarians recommend that your puppy should have appetizing food that has a high caloric range.
They also suggest you get mushy canned food for your puppy as it is easier to eat than large chunks and slices of wet meat. Get baby food as well. Its soft texture makes it easier for puppies to eat it.
If you are wondering what to feed a puppy with parvo, a bland diet is also on the list. Boiled chicken, bone broth, mashed hard-boiled eggs, cooked white rice – all these things might provide the right amount of nutrition to your puppy; however, it is important to discuss it with your vet first.
Do not worry if your puppy ends up contracting parvo. With adequate care and nutrition, it is highly probable that your little one will get back home just as it was earlier.
It is natural to question what is parvo in puppies – we hope you liked this article and found the answer!