Parvovirus is a very contagious disease that is spread through bodily fluids such as saliva and excrement. You will find that your dog suddenly, and unexpectedly begins to feel ill. Once contracted, parvo lies dormant in the body for 7 to 10 days. It weakens the immune system and attacks the intestinal lining, causing it to slough off and slowly disintegrate; this generally results in diarrhea. You may also notice quite a bit of blood within the stool. Once symptoms begin to show, your dog may stop eating and drinking which can result in dehydration and malnutrition.
Parvo moves quickly, especially in puppies and therefore should be treated by a vet as soon as symptoms occur. They will give your pup antibiotics, a special diet of soft food, and subcutaneous fluid under the skin to keep your dog hydrated. It isn’t easy to spot at first, one day your dog will be fine and the next she will be very tired, sluggish, and lack in appetite.
Unlike Rabies, Parvovirus is not transferable to humans, but contact with stray animals can leave the virus on your clothes, shoes, and hands. So be sure to change and wash yourself off before touching another animal and then touching your own pets.
If you are unable to see a vet or are in dire circumstances, then I would recommend trying the tips below that I've used to assist my dogs through their recovery. If you are financially unable to pay for medication up front some vets will allow you to apply for Care Credit, which is like a credit card for vet appointments.
My Experience With Parvo
My 12 week old puppy came into contact with another who had Parvo, of which I was unaware. I noticed changes in her behavior after a 2 to 3 day span. She became a little less playful, slept more and had very little appetite. On the fourth day she was whining a lot, becoming very warm and feverish, and having loose, bloody bowel movements. At this point take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. At this stage it could take 48 or less for your dog to die from dehydration or infection.
I went to Banfield Animal Hospital and paid nearly $500 for treatment. I suggest making an appointment with your vet or SNAP, they are much cheaper. Once they start exhibiting the early symptoms of fatigue and no appetite, you need to start treatment so that your pet does not become weak and treatment does not become too expensive.
Above All, STAY CALM!
It does neither you nor your pet any good if you are up all night crying and worrying. If the vet is closed and you can't get to an emergency clinic, do your best to keep them comfortable and don't forget to take care of yourself too. Sometimes we make it worse in our minds when we don't know what the real problem is.
The First Step
Quarantine your dog, Parvo spreads quickly and other animals need to be protected from the carrier. Place her somewhere that is going to be undisturbed, secluded, where she will feel secure and able to relax, rest is very important for your dog to overcome the infection.
- Things to Consider Before Getting A Puppy or Dog
Pets are not Christmas gifts or toys. They are a lifelong commitment that should be taken seriously. Keep these things in mind before adopting a dog.
You must sterilize EVERYTHING, and I do mean everything. Parvovirus can live up to 7 months in grass and dirt, so you may want to pour bleach in areas of your lawn where your dog usually defecates.
Wash your hands and arms thoroughly after administering medication or having any kind of physical contact with your pet or your pets' medications.
Clean up accidents with Clorox and always dispose of the waste properly. Do not put it in your yard or bury it because it can still spread.
Hydration and Food
Dogs with parvo are unable to consume food the way they normally would. If she won't eat, at the very least she MUST drink plenty of fluid. As an owner you may have to assist and encourage your puppy to drink, you can do this by buying a plastic syringe from Walgreens or any CVS Pharmacy. Give your puppy about 10cc's of water every half hour, every 20 minutes would be better if she can handle it. You may need a bigger syringe and you may need to give it more often depending on the size and weight of your specific breed.
I also tried giving her pedialyte and small amounts of gatorade which seemed to help quite a bit...but again, this depends on your dog. If it seems to upset her stomach or cause vomiting discontinue and stick with plain water. As far as food goes, my puppy could not eat very much and I did not push her to do so...instead i would cook very small portions of white steamed rice and offer it to her, emphasis on SMALL portions. Your puppy may lose weight, this is normal, the most important to focus on is keeping her hydrated, which will also help with fever levels. If she has a fever you'll be able to feel it on her head and her belly. Try to keep her next to a fan if possible or in a well ventilated area.
Most of all keep your puppy in a calm, relaxed, low stress environment. She needs quiet and lots of rest. After she gets over the hump you may start to see improvement, she'll eat more and want to get up and run around. This is fantastic news, however you still need to treat her as if she is extremely sick for about a month. She needs to take it easy, try not to overdo it with exercise, and keep the food rations monitored, her digestive tract is still healing and going back to hard foods too quickly could agitate the stomach.
Don't ever discipline your dog for having an accident when ill. Even if they are house trained, think about how you feel when you're sick. Sometimes you have accidents, it can be stressful and humiliating, especially if someone's yelling at you. This will not have any affect on their overall training or behavior, they are simply ill and cannot control their tummies at this point. Be kind and be patient with them.
To prevent this from ever happening again, get your puppy vaccinated. This is the most effective way to stop this virus from infecting your pup.
My final words...
Caring for a dog or puppy with Parvovirus is not an easy undertaking, its not as simple as doing one or two things and solving the problem. It is exhausting. There will be nights where you won't get much sleep, either because of the groaning your dog does or because of the frequent liquid stools that need to be cleaning. There have to be round the clock scheduled feedings, liquids, and antibiotic administratio.
Don't ever give up on your pet though. On the fourth to fifth day, your dog will probably be feeling pretty weak but should be recovering by this point. Be patient.
To my fellow dog lovers, we all agree that our dogs are more than just pets, they are our family, they take the roles of children for some of us and losing them is just as hard as losing a child. I hope that if you know someone who is going through this you will show them support during such a difficult time and reach out to those who need help with it.
Thank you for reading hubpagers! Please support your local animal shelters, volunteer, adopt, foster, and report abuse wherever you see it.
This Hub is meant for preventive measures and after care only. I cannot diagnose your dog, take them to a vet as soon as symptoms occur. PLEASE DO NOT wait for a response from me as I am unable to treat your pet. If you are unable to see a vet, keep your dog hydrated, isolated from other animals, sterilize everything.
It may not be Parvo, don't panic!
While it is extremely important to treat symptoms early, certain breeds are genetically predisposed to allergies and infections. There are also many different reasons that your dog could be experiencing illness or parvo-like symptoms. Keep an eye out, and if its beyond your control seek a vet.
Humphrey13 on August 21, 2017:
Your pup can BEAT THIS!!!!
My story of my pug puppy surviving Parvo. I'M NOT A VETERINARIAN
List of things I used:
1 pepto bismol
2 Powerade and water mixed
3 colloidal silver (store Vitamin Shoppe)
4 pedigree meat mixed dog food
5 9 Way Vaccination (store Tractor Supply)
Quick breakdown: I purchased a pup from Craigslist. First Red Flag was No Mom on sight or Dad. My kids liked him instantly and as a Dad with a soft heart I took him anyways, we got home my pup was sleeping way too much. I seen him stopped eating and drinking and getting weak no play in him at all. This was all in Day 3 of having him. Vet diagnosed him positive for parvovirus. I was told it's a slim chance to survive and they can keep him for 5 days in isolation give him a IV and a shot with antibiotics. Cool let's do that right, cost was $1500. No way I don't even make that in two weeks of work. What to do my kids loved the puppy and putting him down or taking him to shelter wasn't in me. So I goggled and read up on it. Pink stuff (pepto) settles stomach and pedialyte to hydrate. I had pink stuff but only Powerade in refrigerator. Opened his mouth gave him pepto and had a baby bottle squirted Powerade in his mouth until he licked it and wanted it. Layed him down. (Day 2) Next morning a little better Not that much. I googled some more. Now read try Colloidal Silver a spray for the human immune system. My local Vitamin Shoppe carried it for $8. Gave him two pumps in mouth twice a day. Still a little bit of pepto about 1.25 ml and he ate dog meat mix in dog food only about half of portion. He would pee and then would poop and that was soft and not hard and would try again and nothing came out. (Day 3) I went to the humane society by myself and the clinic secretary told me he needed a $75 shot of antibiotics to help fight it and she said everything I was doing was good for him only if I see improvement. I didn't have $75 I just paid the Vet $75 for him tell me he was on his deathbed with parvovirus. So I called my buddy that breeds American Bully's and his pups go for $2500-4000 a pup. So health is must for that price range. He told me to do it myself. I'm not a vet but I owned two dogs and seen it administered through the skin on back of neck. He asked his age, I said 9 weeks old so he go buy the 9 WAY. so I googled it and it was a parvovirus vaccination plus several other vaccines in shot. Also came with syringe. I purchased it at a local store called Tractor Supply. It's like a farm and fleet store for $10. No way I was going do it without knowing how, so I looked it up on YouTube and there are several videos explaining how and also applying it to the pup and dog they had. That night I applied the vaccines with the shot and he wouldn't eat until I mixed the dog meat into the bowl and he went to sleep. (Day 4) he woke up very whinny so I took him outside and he wanted to play and not poop, granted it's 5am and I'm tired. All he did was bounce around and run. He had crazy energy. I feed him and he played until 9am finally used it outside and came back in and laid it down. He has to get a vaccine every 2-3 weeks until 6 months of age the vaccine instructions said. So I'm on top of it now! Glad I never quit on him and still loved and petted him to show him love! He is well.
I'M NOT A VETERINARIAN I JUST DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY A VET AND NO WAY I WAS GOING TO PUT MY PUP DOWN BEFORE SEEING WHAT I CAN DO FOR HIM. I WAS TOLD HE WILL HAVE PARVO UNTIL HE GROWS OUT OF IT. DONT LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT YOU CAN DO TO SAVE YOUR PUPPY LIFE BUT A VET.
BLOGS LIKE THIS HAS HELPED ME SO MUCH HOPEFULLY SOMEONE READ MY STORY AND GET EXCITED AND SEE THERE IS WAY WITHOUT KILLING OR HIGH VET BILLS THAT WONT GUARANTEE THEY CAN EVEN SAVE YOUR PUP.
PS I'm just sharing my story again I'm not a veterinarian and I don't have any expertise just my experience and my pup is doing fine. I can't answer any questions this all the information I know.
Thanks For Reading & Hope Your Puppy stays Healthy!!!!
Onishea Aguilera on April 29, 2017:
My pit bull puppy got it last week. He had just turned 5 months on the 16 of April. I gave him pedialyte and water and tried to force feed him some rice because he was getting weak from vomiting because he was over doing it on the water because he was thirsty. He even would get into the tub to drink from the dripping faucet. We don't have a local vet so I didn't know where I could find antibiotics and I was broke. He got worse and was having trouble breathing. I took care of him for 3 days but he would not try to eat or drink the pedialyte. I didn't know what else to do for him and I didn't want him to die painfully so I drove to the city and took him to the humane society and regretfully had him euthanized. I had tried to call the vets in the city before they euthanized him to see if any of the vets could take him in with a payment plan and none would. Letting him go was the hardest thing I ever had to do. This was just 3 days ago. Rest in peace my Squeaky. 04/25/17
opiesmomma on March 29, 2017:
my puppy ( 9 week old akita) was diagnosed with parvo on saturday. after a 5000 vet bill, my puppy is home with us, doing slightly better but still wont eat. i have tried everything from apple sauce to peanut butter. i read chicken broth is good, do you recommend
Suzy on February 12, 2017:
My puppy doesnt have bloody daiereah and she drinks on her own but she throws up after she drinks and doesnt eat. What is this? Could it be parvo?
Jess on January 31, 2017:
Hi my 10wk puppy tested positive for parvo on 1/25/17. He went immediately into the hospital for intensive care. He had an iv with fluids, antibiotics, pain meds & meds to help with the vomiting & diarrhea. On 1/27/17 they put a feeding tube in him & that seemed to help. 1/28 he finally ate 50% of his food. Yesterday 1/30 he ate twice for the vet so they sent him to me with antibiotics & meds for diarrhea. He did spike a fever right before they discharged him but the vet said he was looked so good & was playing/ eating that she thought he would be ok. Now I don't think he should have came home. He hasn't eaten or had ANY water since he left the vet at 5pm. I know it hasn't been 24hrs without food or water but what can I do to help him eat & drink? The syringe sounds helpful but he hates it because I give his meds that way & sometimes he spits it back out. I will try though. He was peeing all night long & today but I'm so worried he will get dehydrated. Is there anything else besides the syringe I can do for him? Also do you know if the chances of survival for a puppy this small go up or down once they've had the severe symptoms for 7 days? I thought he would be feeling better but he isn't at all. My kids will be so upset if he passes. We love him so much. If you have any other advice please tell me. I will try anything. I can't afford the high bills as it is so having him go back in I don't know even know how I would afford it. Please any advice is welcome. Thank you!!
Sieria on June 01, 2016:
my puppy Sweet Pea has just recently gotten parvo and we took her to a vet and they kept her overnight and gave her an iv and kept her hydrated, she also gave her antibiotics called amoxicillen, and of course food and water. the only thing is that before we took her she was drinking on her own, and eating a little bit. i didn't notice much change and she said she was doing better so we took her home a day before she was supposed to be released because #1 Too expensive, and #2 there was no sense in leaving her there another day when we could pick her up the next day (would've racked up more money anyways..) So we took her home she seemed fine and happy for a while, then the tiredness came and she was acting like she was before we took her. Then my boyfriend asked the vet on the phone if she gave her any antibiotics that she sent home with us and her reply was, "i don't know why dont you ask your other vet?! (she said that because my boyfriend would say anything to make them believe that we had a good excuse to take the poor thing home and not waste anymore money) Anyways with that rude comment from the vet we said screw it and gave her a dose of her antibiotics. Then later on after she slept for a long time we tried feeding her water and puppy food both wet and dry, anything to make her full. she didn't touch it, and tried licking it a couple times, and couldn't chew it hardly, and when she did she threw it up. Then we blended it up in a blender and some wet puppy food, and water and put it in a bowl, she didn't touch it. so then we put it in a syringe thing and opened her mouth a bit and put it in that way, also the same with water, so far no throwing up. i just wanted to know if i should keep doing this to keep my poor baby alive????? please comment if you know how i could save my poor Sweet Pea.
ibrahim Izo on May 25, 2016:
my 7 week old puppy got infected. his stomach is pretty empty now so whenever he vomits he keeps trying and only a spit comes out. i just adopted him, but i think i acted immediately. He is now on a medical course but i take him back home. My vet says do NOT feed him food nor water, he gives him about 4 large syringes of food solutions. plus the treatment for symptoms and plasma transfusion. this is his 2nd day with the treatment. is he going to make it?
Clovis (author) from Texas on June 16, 2015:
I'm very sorry, I hope she's okay now!
nadia on April 29, 2015:
My 3 old maltipo has parvo please pray for my little cutie pie shes my whole world
mario on October 02, 2014:
This is so stressful. I can't sleep, I don't want him to die
chris on September 08, 2014:
If he got it he not pooin or thruin up
omer on May 07, 2014:
my 2 months old pug is doing blood daiereah what should I do
PitbullLover on March 27, 2014:
I have 4 month pitbull he had all the symtoms yesterday not bloody daiereah he have daiereah thou but today he don't and he's drinking alota water and ate onced today and also he been playing and runing should I be worried?
Mel on March 05, 2014:
Im scared my dog might die...
Jose on January 18, 2014:
I woke up today and my dog has all the symptoms I think he might have the parvo virus but we don't have the money to take him to the vet. He won't eat at all unless it's bologne and I'm giving it to his mouth do I keep doing this?? And also how much water do I keep giving him
Lori knight on November 30, 2013:
I got a one year old Pitt back a week ago he was sick previous owners didn't get his shots and he was sick...took him to the vet and he has parvo he is at the vet getting
iv fluids my question is I have a three year old Pitt that has her shots healty gies to vet regular and always healty...how can I protect her from this virus she has been around the sick one all this week we had no idea the one year old was sick with this virus until today...will my 3 year old get this? Scared what do I do...please let me know thank you!
jessica on February 06, 2013:
Im daughter puppy has parvo will he be OK his 7months old
Clovis (author) from Texas on October 06, 2011:
Thank you for your kind review :)
jacqui2011 from Norfolk, UK on October 06, 2011:
Fantastic, well written and informative guide to dealing with a dog suffering from parvovirus. I don't have dogs, but it sounds a terrible disease. Very useful information that I think every dog owner should read. Voted up and useful.