How to Treat Canine Parvovirus
Parvovirus, or canine parvovirus, is a disease that's very common in dogs, especially during the first few months of life. However, not very much is known about it; as a result, the symptoms are often mistaken for a gastrointestinal problem. This could prove dangerous because parvovirus is usually fatal if not recognized quickly and treated in time, particularly when it occurs in puppies. If you notice that your dog is vomiting frequently, isn't eating, has lost a lot of weight or is passing bloodied stools, then you should take your dog to the vet immediately for testing. If you'd like more information about this disease, we'll explain how to treat canine parvovirus in this OneHowTo article so that you'll know exactly what to do if your dog contracts it.
The first thing to do is to identify the disease. To do that, it is important to know the most frequent symptoms, as outlined in detail in this article. Once you've identified it, you should take your dog to the vet to get a canine parvovirus diagnosis. Once diagnosed, the first step is usually to counteract the dehydration. To do this, you should give your dog the serum prescribed by the vet.
Usually, the veterinarian performs fluid replacement therapy, i.e. administers a serum to help re-hydrate the dog. Fluids that contain isotonic crystalloids (the best one for combating parvo, according to veterinarians, is Ringer-Lactate), which can be combined with colloids such as dextran or hydroxyethyl starch. This treatment is usually administered intravenously.
In severe cases where parvovirus leads to heart or kidney problems, these crystalloids should be administered with extreme caution because they can't be tolerated in these cases as easily as they can by dogs with normal cardiac and renal function.
The rate and amount of serum to administer will be calculated by the veterinarian and will depend on the size and weight of the dog and how advanced the disease is. In addition to fluid therapy, canine parvovirus can be treated using blood transfusions.
As a result of the bloody diarrhoea caused by the parvovirus, the dog will have lost a lot of blood and will need to recover and replenish the blood supply in order to gradually get rid of the virus. For both puppies and adult dogs, the donor blood must come from a healthy adult dog that has had all of its mandatory vaccinations.
Having been prescribed both the rehydrating serum and the blood transfusions, a dog suffering from parvovirus will begin to recover and compensate for each of the deficiencies caused by the virus. Once rehydrated, the veterinarian will continue with a fluid maintenance programme, which usually consists of a glucosamine isotonic solution supplemented with potassium chloride.
However, the specific fluids may vary depending on the dog's condition. It should always be the veterinarian who determines which treatments are the most appropriate, the dosage amounts and the rate of administration.In many cases, parvovirus can cause a state of hypokalaemia (potassium deficiency) or other deficiencies, meaning that the dog must receive potassium in order to make a full recovery.
If you do not want your dog to be kept in at the veterinarian, it is possible to administer the treatment at home using serum bags (first the ones for re-hydration and then the ones for fluid level maintenance). The veterinarian usually supplements fluid therapy with antibiotics and anti-emetics. These should only be prescribe by a vet, who will also provide you with all the information about how to administer it (such as when and how much). If you treat your dog at home, you should go back to the vet on the agreed days in order for the vet to check on your dog's progress and development. Even so, the first fluid therapy treatment and blood transfusions will be carried out in the veterinary hospital.
If you treat your dog at home, you must thoroughly clean and disinfect all the items (blankets, bed etc.) and areas of the house where the dog has been. Remember that parvovirus can survive even in extreme conditions for many months.
It's important to note that although this is the most effective treatment, it doesn't necessarily have the same effect in all dogs; the progress of the disease and the health of the dog also have a lot to do with it. The disease is usually more dangerous for puppies; they often require additional medicines to help boost their natural defences as the virus will leave them very weak.
Occasionally, it is also possible that the vet will provide you with a homemade serum for you to administer to your dog by yourself at home (do not make a serum yourself without having first consulted with a professional). It is essential that you go to your veterinarian to initiate treatment and combat the canine parvovirus.
Tamiflu is increasingly being used to combat parvovirus, with encouraging results. Tamiflu is a drug that's mainly used to treat the influenza virus. The dosage is usually 2 ml per kilo, meaning that if your dog weighs 10 kg you would administer 20 ml. You should administer a dose every day for 10 days, at the same time each day.
Tamiflu is only to be used as a supplement to the usual veterinary treatment; using it alone will have no effect. Seek advice from a specialist before you give it to your dog. In addition, although it has been successful in many cases, that doesn't mean that it will counteract parvo in all dogs, as each dog can present with very different symptoms and reactions.
To know if your dog has parvovirus it's important to know the symptoms of this disease, something that can help you check your dog's health. Parvovirus affects the gastrointestinal system directly, causing these symptoms:
- Low mood
- Cut breathing and gasping
- Nausea and foamy skiness
- Diorrhea with blood and a strong smell
If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, take it immediately to the vets, especially if it's a puppy as it can provoke sudden death.
You must know that you can avoid dog parvovirus following some easy health recommendations. OneHowto would like to give you a list of tips you can follow so you can protect your dog from this disease:
- Follow the vaccination schedule that your vet suggests.
- De-parasite your dog frequently.
- Keep your dog's hygiene up to standard as well as his environment
- Avoid puppies getting into contact with their own feces
If your dog has been infected by parvovirus and has recovered, you must know it's possible that this virus is still in your home, that's why it's very important to disinfect your home to make sure the dog is living in an optimal space.
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