so, roxy (5 months, 20 lbs puppy) was diagnosed with parvo on Monday, in spite of having 2 parvo vaccinations already (her final vaccinations were ironically scheduled for TODAY). She is doing okay to date; I am still in shock over the diagnosis. One minute questioning my actions, the next wondering if we got bad vaccinations or whether the tech actually vaccinated her properly to begin with or whether we were on the proper vaccination schedule or a million other things…. I am really trying not to beat myself up over this because I really don’t see how I could have prevented it, though…. but still, I wonder.
We are at Day 6, and all seems back to normal. She is doing a followup course of antibiotics just as a protection measure and I’ve added nutrical (a high calorie vitamin paste), california natural puppy food mixed in with her normal puppy pro food, and I’m going to try to get yogurt in her (for the probiotics and to help ease her stomach).
Roxy is not completely out of the woods, but at this point there is no reason to expect that she will not continue onward and healthy.
Anyhow, I decided to post my story because I found alot of comfort and useful information from reading other people’s parvo stories. Most importantly, I am not a vet, so please do not hold me accountable in anyway. Like I said, I did alot of reading once I received the diagnosis and I’m just going to sort of distill what I found in hopes that it will help someone in the same boat.
First off, if you have pedialyte or gatorade and can either get your puppy to drink it or you have a syringe to administer it orally, get some of the fluids into them while you find a vet. Water is not the best choice, but better than nothing. If it happens on the weekend (my case) then you may need to call everybody in the phone book. Get your puppy to the vet, ASAP. DO NOT WAIT. Time is critical. Most vets, including the emergency vets, will work out a payment plan for you. Believe me, I have been on the vet payment plan more than once.
The symptoms of Parvo are here and it is grim and gross. I am sorry. There is no magic cure for Parvo. What you treat are the symptoms and prevent secondary infection from setting in. Not all puppies will have all symptoms. Roxy had few symptoms except for listlessness, no appetite and only occasional vomiting and just a little diarhea, definitely not some of the horror stories I’ve read on the web. She wasn’t running a fever and her test showed no signs of internal bleeding, either. (the vet actually thought as I did, that she had eaten something and maybe had an obstruction. We were all surprised by the parvo diagnosis, I think).
Owners will need to be vigilant in treatment, and some dogs will still die. Various sources site mortality rates differently and I’ve seen 80% recovery with treatment listed as common. My vet said 50/50, and if Roxy survived the first 72 hours, chances moved up to around 90%. Every day past 72 hours, is one step closer towards recovery (generally). From what I’ve gleaned and seems to be true with Roxy, once the expulsion of food/water stops and she began to eat on her own, the worst is over (I hope). There is still a chance she could relapse in about week due to secondary infection, so her treatment will continue for 5 more days in hopes of preventing that.
Because her symptoms were milder than alot of puppies, she received a combination anti-nausea shot/antibiotic 2 x day, plus Rebound (which is like chicken flavored pedialyte for dogs…) She did not get bad enough (and hopefully will not) to require IVs, which is a very common treatment.
A couple of things that I’ve learned from this experience:
Vaccines are not foolproof but they are the best defense we have. The fact that Roxy had 2 parvo vaccinations under her belt may have saved her life.
The only way to kill (actually control) Parvo as a virus in the enviroment is to use a bleach solution or a commercial product designed to kill parvo. Parvo passes through the intestines and the dog can be contagious (though not sick) for up to a month.
Everything the sick dog touches should be disinfected. I’ve already bleached roxy’s kennel, the floors around her kennel, her dog toys (plastics in the dishwasher w/ a bleach solution, stuffed ones in washing machine on hot with bleach), dog bowls, and threw out her chew toys and old bedding. I’m in the process of bleaching the whole house and I’ve done the back deck, too. The yard is going to be nearly impossible, but it poured a heavy rain yesterday which I hope has washed it away (although not killed it…)
Ok, now to the day to day. I didn’t keep a really good log and I really waited too long to take her, because it took a couple of days for her to really start acting sick (her case was mild compared to most puppies).
this website has an amazing log about the day to day of a parvo dog. It really helped me gauge where Roxy was and also to get a better idea of what I was in for, since I was caring for her at home under vet’s guidance.
best of luck. Generally, the older and bigger the puppy (there are some breeds very susceptible, though), the milder the symptoms, the quicker the treatment, and the passing of time (72 hours if responsive to treatment can be a big turning point) are keys to success. It will not be easy, even in a mild case.
Friday AM. All is normal. Breakfast per normal.
Friday PM. Didn’t want to take heartworm pill which is very treat oriented. Not interested in dinner.
Friday late night/early Sat. morning. Threw up a couple of times in kennel. I thought she probably ate something
that disagreed with her or her new teeth were bothering her.
Sat. AM. Seemed okay but a little tired. Not interested in eating, but drinking water on own.
Sat. evening. Still not interested in eating, but drinking on own. I was starting to get a little concerned.
Threw up a couple of times over the course of the day, nothing too major though. Ate quite a bit of grass apparently.
Sunday AM. More tired. Not interested in eating, only a little water on own. A little diarrhea.
I was starting to get really concerned at this point and made the decision to take her to vet if not all better shortly.
Sunday evening no vet to see her, not drinking on own much, but was able to get water in her.
Threw up just a little a couple of times over the course of the day. Roxy doesn’t seem to feel well
but she’s not deathly either
(I have nursed many feline luke cats and I think I kind of know when really downhill is…)
Monday AM. Vet first thing. Everyone thought obstruction, but tested for parvo before doing an xray. Surprise! Roxy is not dehydrated,
and given her state of health and relatively mild symptoms, is given a shot and fluids, and we are sent home with shots 2 x day, plus rebound. Orders are if Roxy gets worse over the day to bring her back, and they will administer IVs. Also, we can go to emergency vet at night if needed. Throws up once after drinking a whole lot of water on her own (my fault, I let her drink too much!). Lots of checking on her. Every hour. Rebound orally by syringe several times a day, plus offered water which she drank.
Monday PM. Rebound and shot, Lots of checking on her. Every hour day and night. Rebound orally by syringe several times a day, plus offered water which she drank.
Tuesday AM. Rebound and shot, no expulsions of any kind. She’s nibbling on her own and wants her chewie toys. Definitely seems to be feeling better.
Tuesday PM. Rebound and shot, eats first real meal. I had to tell her to stop running around (!)
Weds AM. Well, all seems back to normal. She’s up to her usual antics but I am encouraging rest and making sure that she eats. I think she is really tired of being sick. Okay, I need to go feed my puppy. Always, a good sign for a parvo puppy.
A couple of other things:
I probably didn’t cause/give Roxy parvo although I could have tracked the virus into the home on my shoes. It’s just everywhere. Of course, I still feel responsible somehow. Roxy really has had very limited interaction with other dogs, mainly due to me being cautious until she is fully vaccinated. True, getting vaccinated is important, but being vaccinated does not mean that your dog will not get parvo. We are really not sure how/why Roxy came down with Parvo except for the fact, that she must have contracted it during a very small window of opportunity between vaccinations.
None of her other littermates have come down with parvo, which would seem to indicate that she didn’t have it prior to me getting her (puppies could have already been exposed before starting vaccinations). Another factor is that her mother’s antibodies could have negated the vaccine, either one or both of them, although at the age of the second vaccination, that would seem unlikely, too. Of course, there are animals who do not respond to vaccinations, so perhaps, for parvo, Roxy falls into that category. There are many possible scenarios, and it is unlikely that we will ever know. My vet said that he has seen 3 cases of Parvo in fully vaccinated dogs this summer alone. Take care and truly best of luck.