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What is Parvo?

Parvo is the colloquial name for canine parvovirus, a serious gastrointestinal illness caused by contact with contaminated materials, often the feces of an infected animal. Young dogs who are partially or completely unvaccinated are at highest risk, especially if stressed (e.g. due to weaning). A pet infected with parvovirus may develop a fever and behave lethargically, possibly refusing food within the first few days of infection. Within 24-48 hours, copious vomiting and diarrhea present, often containing blood in the later stages. If not promptly and effectively treated, the dehydration, septic shock, and stress on the animal’s heart can be fatal. See a veterinarian immediately if parvovirus is suspected, as this condition carries an 80% mortality rate if untreated.

Canine Parvovirus or “Parvo” is an extremely contagious viral disease causing severe gastrointestinal distress in young dogs. Zones of rapidly dividing cells, such as those in the small intestine are highly susceptible to the virus, causing vomiting and diarrhea. The virus also preys on hematopoietic progenitor cells in the lymph nodes and blood marrow, increasing the likelihood of sepsis. You can protect your dog from this potential killer by making sure she's up-to-date on her vaccinations.

Parvo Average Cost

From 451 quotes ranging from $500 - $12,000

Average Cost

$5,500

Symptoms of Parvo in Dogs

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Refusal of food
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluid distention of intestines
  • Weak pulse
  • Tachycardia
  • Hypothermia
Types
  • Intestinal
  • Cardiac
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Causes of Parvo in Dogs

  • Eating the feces of an animal infected with parvo
  • Contact of infected material with eyes, nose or mouth
  • Lack of proper vaccination
  • Systemic stress from other illnesses can increase risk of infection with parvo
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Diagnosis of Parvo in Dogs

Intestinal

A veterinarian will suspect parvovirus in young, unvaccinated dogs displaying the aforementioned symptoms, especially if recently adopted from a shelter or other location with many dogs in close contact. ELISA, a common lab test, is used to detect presence of viral particles with a high degree of sensitivity, but in the early days of infection may present a false-negative, so the dog should be quarantined even if the first test is negative. The veterinarian may choose to admit the dog to an animal hospital based on the severity of the case.

Cardiac

This type of parvovirus is very rare and infects puppies while still in the uterus, causing stillbirth or death shortly after birth. There is currently no effective way to diagnose or treat this type of infection, beyond the preventative actions of keeping a clean environment for the mother and avoiding contact with any sources of infection or possibly infected animals.

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Treatment of Parvo in Dogs

Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from the vomiting and diarrhea pose the most immediate risk to a dog’s health. Electrolyte solutions can be administered orally if the dog’s vomiting is not too severe. Dogs with moderate to severe dehydration and/or copious vomiting will need an IV carrying replacement electrolytes, as severely infected dogs lose the ability to effectively absorb water and nutrients through the gut. Blood sugar and potassium should be monitored and supplemented via IV if necessary. In severe cases, GI protein loss below 20g/L will require colloid therapy such as pentastarch. Additionally, anti-emetics to control vomiting may be prescribed along with antibiotics to treat any opportunistic infections.

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Recovery of Parvo in Dogs

Puppies that are treated swiftly and survive the first 3-4 days of the infection are likely to make a full recovery in around a week. Once vomiting has subsided for 12-24 hours, easy-to-digest foods that are low in fat may be given at the recommendation of the veterinarian, such as cottage cheese, boiled chicken, and rice. The companionship and attention of the owner will help ameliorate stress.

Although dogs who recover from parvo are immune to reinfection, the amount of contamination they have spread may be significant, and the dog itself remains contagious for up to six weeks. Parvovirus is difficult to kill, being resistant to many common cleaners and disinfectants. In normal humidity at room temperature the virus can remain dangerous for months. All cleanable materials should be washed with a 1:10 bleach solution or an accelerated peroxide. All non-cleanable material should be disposed of such that no other animals can come in contact with it. Owners should take extreme care in washing their hands and cleaning the soles of shoes before leaving the area after petting their dog or cleaning up contaminated areas.

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Cost of Parvo in Dogs

Parvovirus sits near the top of the list in terms of cost of treatment for infectious diseases. Treatment cost will correspond directly to the severity of the parvo at the time of the hospital visit. The initial examination is expected to cost between $50 and $77.00. The parvo test run by the veterinarian or the veterinarian technician will cost between $84 and $114.00. Electrolyte treatment can range from $61 to $86.00. The cost of 24-hour care ranges from $85 - $175. The cost of blood transfusion for canine blood is between $150 and $275 per unit and can be upwards of $500 for the entire system. If you bring your pet in during an emergency crisis or when they are severely affected the cost of the treatment will increase drastically, especially if ICU or multiple days of hospitalisation are needed.

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Parvo Average Cost

From 451 quotes ranging from $500 - $12,000

Average Cost

$5,500

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Parvo Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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blue nose pit bull puppy

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2 months.

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Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Parvo

His sister died this morning of parvovirus and now he is sick black poop and not wanting to eat and drink I've been giving him Pedialyte all day

Nov. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Parvovirus is a very contagious disease among puppies, and if a sibling died of the disease, it is highly likely that he has the problem as well. It would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as these puppies often require hospitalization and intensive care to survive.

Nov. 25, 2020

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chahuahua weenie mix

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Seven Months

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting/Lathargy/Not Eating Or Drinking

My puppy was vomiting and not eating or drinking absolutely no diarrhea in fact no bowel movement or urination and i thought shewas dying but now after pepcid ac and pedialyte shes better but now 2of our other dogs are throwing up one of which is nirsing 3week pups what could it be.. No money for vet

Oct. 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to take them to see a veterinarian, the only thing that you can do is what you have been doing. If they have an infectious disease like Parvo virus, if you are able to keep them hydrated until they stop vomiting with Pedialyte, they may make it. I hope that they are okay.

Oct. 20, 2020

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Chihuahua

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11 weeks

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Unknown severity

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7 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

A Little Vomiting

My dog has not been vaccinated I was going to go today. He has vomited yesterday and today . What should I do

Oct. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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7 Recommendations

Hello so sorry to hear about your dog. If he is vomiting for 2 days we worry about parvovirus with young puppies. It would be best for him to see your vet. A bland diet and syringe feedings may also help. WIth him being a small dog these can easily get dehydrated. Your vet can prescribe you medication to help your dog feel much better. Good Luck.

Oct. 3, 2020

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Mutt

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Four Months

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

My 4 month old puppy has parvovirus. He started showing signs on Sept. 23, on monin

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I am sorry for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. I hope that you were able to get treatment for your puppy, as Parvo virus typically does require treatment. I hope that your puppy is okay.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Beagle/ pekingese mix

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less than 6 months

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Typical Treatment

I want to adopt two dogs who tested positive for parvo they were treated by the vet through the rescue center and spent a couple of nights in the hospital and are said to be on the mend and out of the hospital. I am just curious on if its safe to bring them in my home. I also don't want to purchase a dog for my kids that dies soon after.

Sept. 11, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Kate D. MA VetMB MRCVS

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3 Recommendations

Hello, Thankyou for contacting us about the two dogs you are looking to adopt. I'm sorry to hear they've had a rough time of it recently, I hope they are doing better. I can see that the recent parvovirus diagnosis is raising some considerations about this adoption. If the dogs have been given the "green light" from the treating veterinarian, that should mean that they are fit for coming to your home. There are, however, a few thoughts I would have: - Usually, dogs who recover from parvovirus do absolutely fine. However, some may have sensitive stomachs as a result of the virus, and need to stay on fairly plain food. This shouldn't be something that stands against them being adopted, but is good to bear in mind. - Dogs that have had parvovirus can remain contagious to other dogs for up to two months after the initial diagnosis. So you would want to check when this was, and what the vet's recommendations are for keeping these two dogs separate from other dogs so that they don't risk passing the virus on to other dogs in your community. If you already have dogs at home, this will be a serious consideration in the short-term. However, parvovirus does not pass on to people so that aspect need not be a concern. - I would check the dogs' vaccination status. If they had parvovirus, it suggests they were not previously vaccinated. Depending on the timing of the virus, they may not have completed their vaccination course yet. I understand that you are keen to make sure they are healthy and covered before adopting them, and so being up to date with their vaccinations will be part of that. I hope that helps you make your decision about what to do. Please let us know if there is more we can help with.

Sept. 11, 2020

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Bayne

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Pit bull

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10 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have a 10 week old puppy that tested positive for parvo. She had thrown up 2 days before testing positive but has not since. She has not stopped eating or drinking. She is still playing and acting normal. She has not or is not having diarrhea. And no blood in the stool she is having. Has anyone had anything like this? We have her on all the meds and gi food the vet prescribed.

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Max and Gigi

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Chihuahua

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11 Months

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Weight Loss
Lethargy
Loss Of Balance
Loss Of Appetite
Anorexia
Loss Of Consciousness
Loss Of Mass
Loss Of Equilibrium

Max and Gigi were diagnosed with Parvo exactly 7days ago. I had another teacup Chihuahua Mini Mouse who started showing symptoms 3days before and before we even started to suspect Parvo she unfortunately passed away. Max and Gigi were not showing any symptoms at that time and that was the main reason we didn't suspect Parvo. The next day however both started becoming sick. Gigi made a quick recovery she was only down for about 3days. Max got really sick and even with all the antibiotics and fluids he was not getting better and refused to eat he was also so weak that he couldn't stand on his own for more than a few seconds. My husband and I decided we would not make him suffer anymore and decided to put him to sleep, an hour before the vet appointment max started eating and has been eating small meals of chicken every few hours for almost 36hrs now and is now drinking water on his own and getting up through the night and going to his puppy pad to poop. I'm hoping that this is his turn around and it came literally 1hour before we had scheduled to have hom put down. This has been a hard tiring and taxing experience but now i will continue to keep fighting for my babies and nursing them back to health. Gigi is back to her normal self she necer got to sick just seemed like she had an upset stomach for a few days Mini mouse unfortunately is no longer with us she is blessing heaven with her beautiful soul and hopefully Max is starting his recovery stage. Don't give up its hard to watch your bestfriend go through this, Parvo is a horrible virus but with the help of your vet and lots of love, dedication, and a lot of sleepless nights it is possible to get through it. Prevention is key but if you have the unfortunate diagnosis of Parvo early detection and treatment is crucial. The quicker you start treatment the better your chances. Please pray for my Maxie boy

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Jo-Jo

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Yorkshire Terrier

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7 Weeks

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Critical severity

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1 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Unfortunately this is not my first experience with a sick puppy, in Dec 2019 my boyfriend bought me a yorkie for Christmas and we took it to get shots the very next morning,sadly Mia died on Christmas, vet couldn’t confirm from what but it was 2 days after her vaccinations at vet. Day 2 of having her with us (Christmas Day) she had foul smelling red/black stool not diarrhea we rushed her to emergency vet in which they tested her for parvo and test said negative, however there at vet she started with diarrhea, vet said it most likely is parvo and sometimes they get a false positive on stool test,she died shortly after we took her to emergency vet. I was devastated I’ve never lost a pet from a illness and to be told if and when a puppy has Symptoms of Parvo they were exposed about 5 days prior which meant from the “breeder” I informed the breeder of this unfortunate event. In July2019 breeder decided to give us a free puppy due to our loss so we welcomed Jo-Jo , sadly day 2 Jo-Jo experienced same symptoms, I decided NOT to take him to vet, that if we were going to loose him too I was gunna fight at home with him,we purchased penicillin from feed store with instructions for parvo injection and 4 syringes,I purchased PAXXIN online from amazon and pedalite Day 1/2 were horrible he was so lethargic his body was so limp he let me to what I needed to without a fight he was lifeless, day 3 I received paxxin in mail and gave to him right away along with puppy cal and pedalite every 30mins to a hour it was a rough sleepless night. By day 4 he purked up got up to try to eat. (Last shot given)🙌🏼👍🏼Day 6 he only wants liquidity puppy food still giving him puppy cal and pedalite, he finally pooped a solid stool which smelled like the last foul dark,but solid. Day 7 I decided to add puppy stage 2 formula to puppy food for extra nutrients becuz he only weighs .7 not even 1lb as well as iron supplement to avoid further hypoglycemia. He started to move around more and go to food on his own but I’m still giving more through syringe as well. Day9 I took to vet just to make sure he’s doing ok with what I’m doing, vet assured me I’m doing everything right he doesn’t have a fever and to continue what I’m doing for it take a full 2 weeks to shed parvovirus. He has pooped now solid poop with no foul odor. 🤞everything turns out good. I would highly recommend adding PAXXIN if your dog has parvo symptoms, since we started paxxin he has done a whole 360. After the full 2 weeks of shedding the virus we will go to vet for his first injections.

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Queenie

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Pit bull

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2 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting

My Queenie diagnose with parvo last Friday and today is her 8th day at the Vet fully opname. At 6th and 7th she showing good progress , more happy , licking our face and wagging tail (stool are yellow creamy fluid, vomit twice a day ) But last night she vomited and show depression again Does it take this long to recover? Does Queenie will have a chance to survive after this long fight ??

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Castle

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American bully

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4 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Incontinence
Anxiety
Diarhea

Is it normal for a recovering dog from parvo to be incontinent? Castle was hospitalized for 6 days and stopped vommiting and is eating fine. Had soft stool but not liquid and all of a sudden tonight he is leaking uncontrollably. He normally sleeps with me but I cant let him while this is happening and he whines in his crate. What can I do to help him and is this normal?

Parvo Average Cost

From 451 quotes ranging from $500 - $12,000

Average Cost

$5,500

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