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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

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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

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Ask a Vet

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Akita

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Seven Weeks

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blood In Stool

I have a question we are on the 2nd week of recovery from parvo an my dog is playing an eating an drinking water but I noticed little blood still in his poop is that normal for recovery ?

Aug. 17, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. He could have parasites that are also causing the bloody stool. If he is eating, drinking, and acting fine, I would try to get him a dewormer from your vet. They can also check a fecal sample to make sure that your dog is on the correct medication for your dog's problems. If he ever starts to not act right, it would be best for your vet to check your puppy and make sure that there is nothing else going on.

Aug. 17, 2020

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Papillon

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Hi, my now 10 week old puppy was diagnosed 5 days after I got her with Parvovirus. I rushed her to the vet, she stayed for 2 nights 3 days and was released to come home. She has been eating, drinking, using the bathroom regularly with pretty normal stool. She has been playful and I was hoping she made a full recovery. She’s been out of the hospital for almost 2 weeks and today she’s been whining and seems a little off, it’s still hard to tell her cues and signs, but then she vomited a massive amount and I’m extremely worried. Is Parvo making her sick again??

Aug. 10, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Most puppies that are affected with Parvo virus do not become infected again, but puppies can have parasites, and they are quite good at eating things that they shouldn't. It can take some time for the GI tract to heal from viral infections, and if she is acting normally otherwise, you may be okay to monitor her for a day. If she is back to normal again, she may be fine, but if she continues to not feel well or vomits, then having a recheck with your veterinarian would be a good idea. I Hope that she feels better soon!

Aug. 11, 2020

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Dachshund

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Six Weeks

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

Hi my puppy has parvo I'm sure he had it since Friday the 31. I'm not really sure the lady that sold him to me says he was not sick but she never got him a wellness visit to a vet. He got diagnosed on Sunday the 2nd and since then we've fought to get him well. It is now Thursday and he is drinking water by himself. But he sleeps allot and still won't eat. Is that normal I'm still worried. Any advice or help will be greatly appreciated. PS he did get an antibiotic and a dewormer bc he had worms as well.

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, I'm sorry your puppy is sick. If he is drinking water, and not vomiting that water up, he may survive. It can take a while for them to get their appetite back, and they can lose a fair amount of weight during this disease. The danger is if they get dehydrated, so if he is drinking and keeping it down that is good. Since I cannot see him, it is hard to say if he is okay, and it may be best to have a recheck with your veterinarian to make sure that he is progressing as expected. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 8, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Nine Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, No Appetite, Diarrhea, Not Eating Or Drinking

I noticed he wasn’t himself 1-2 days ago, then he got really weak and had thrown up/diarrhea. We took him to the vet and did out treatment. They gave him fluids and meds, and sent me home Sub Q fluids and meds. When we got home I got him to drink some water, then all he wanted to do was sleep. I’m so worried. The vet said it will get worse before it gets better, but is there a chance I caught it in time?

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, and I am sorry your dog is sick. Parvo virus is a nasty disease, and does tend to make them very sick. We expect them to sleep a lot, and the vomiting and diarrhea can be terrible. If you are able to give the fluids and keep him hydrated, he may be okay, as that is how Parvovirus kills dogs, through dehydration and sepsis. Typically, dogs will start to feel better in 3-5 days if they are going on overcome this disease. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 3, 2020

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Pitbull

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Nine Months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Parvo

I brought my dog home today from the vet after being treated for parvo for the last 5 days. He has only drank a little bit of water in the last 4 hours. He still will not eat no matter what I offer him. The vet also couldn’t get him to eat. I know he’s got to be starving. Is this normal, all he has done since we’ve been home is lay around which with his condition I completely understand but it’s starting to worry me

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is normal for them to be nauseous with that disease, and as long as he is not vomiting, he should start to eat soon. You can try offering him a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice and see if that tempts him to eat, as well. I hope that he recovers soon.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Momma's

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Pit bull

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4 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Loss Of Appetite
Shivering
Vommiting

So 2 days ago my 3 month old pit got her first parvovirus shot and she was fine afterwards then 3-4 hrs later she wouldn't eat her treats and then I was going to bed and she threw up on me. And she started having Diarrhea and now all she's spitting up is white foam spit. What should I do?

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Oliver

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Mixed breed

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3 Months

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite

Our puppy, Oliver, has been in the hospital for 6 days (with true clinical symptoms for the past 4 days, we just caught it really early). He is 12 weeks old, a yorkie/daschund mix, and when we got him were told he was up to date with his shots (he was not, and we’re working with where we got him to have them hold responsibility). Its been a lot of ups and downs the past few days, last night was one of the lowest. He had his first bloody diarrhea yesterday (only about 2 times before that with a few spots of blood). He is still “regurgitating” the litte bit of food he’s gotten, and won’t really eat on his own. I had a talk with one of the rotating doctors last night (one that has not seen him before and said she only quickly read his chart) and she made it clear she thought he should be feeling better at this point. Hes been on all the standard care since he got there—antibiotics, IV fluids, anti nausea, etc—and had a plasma transfusion on the second day of severe symptoms (2 days ago). Ive read everything about parvo that I can get my hands on, and it all seems to lean towards at least a week, sometimes more, before seeing an improvement. I know I want to give him more time to fight it, but was told in so many words I should consider euthanasia. Has anyone else experienced a puppy surviving this long, seemingly in the middle of fighting this awful virus, and the puppy dying? Am I clinging onto false hope? I've been scouring the internet, and it led me here. Hoping for some first-hand stories of other people who have experienced this. I know I’m probably forgetting details, so please ask if there’s anything I’m missing. My mind is blurry and my heart is broken. We lost our 17 year old dog earlier this month and Oliver was supposed to bring joy back into our lives. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

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Rooster

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Blue Heeler

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8 Weeks

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Vomiting
Heavy Breathing
Dizzy

I havea 8 week old blue healer. We picked him up Saturday night and was diagnosed withparvo Sunday night were doing the at home treatments including IV every 12hours, anti diarrhea with iron supplement every 6 hours, anti nausea every 12,and glucose on the gums every 6. We are also giving him pedialyte every 30minutes to a hour through a syringe to keep hydrated. Sunday night he ate a little bit and that was the only time he had ate. Were onday 3-4, he threw up once today and had watery diarrhea once as well, but he isbreathing heavily, sort of white gums, drooling, can not stand on his own andwhen he does stand he is very shaky. I know its probably from not eating and hehasnt thrown up or pooped cause of the medicine. But i just want an opinion ofhow his chances are to beating this. Im calling my vet everyday to give them updates and ask the same questions butthey dont really answer them. If there is anything else i can do to help my pup,im open to any suggestions.

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Peppa

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Pug

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6 Months

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

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Intestines Rumbling
Could Hear Her Intestines Rumbling
Gagged During The First Day
Had Shivers
Lathergy
Loss Of Appetite
Vomiting

My six month old pug Peppa, was diagnosed with Parvo today. I took her to the vet and he directed me to avoid giving her any water or food until he gives me the green light. He ran her first treatment and provided her with nourishment through IV so she stays hydrated. Its been about 12 hours since her visit, she's only peed twice but she is still very tired. I can tell she feels sick because she is always so hyper. Do you think she will improve since i took her in at first notice of issues? Any advice from another vet would be really helpful.

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Doc

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Brittany (Spaniel)

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4 Years

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

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite

About a week ago Doc started having really bad diarrhea almost to the point of incontinence. But that stopped and on the same day his vomiting started. He vomited for about 24 hours and now he wont move, eat, or drink. But no longer has diarrhea or vomiting. Does this mean hes getting worse?

Parvo Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$5,500

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