How To Get Rid Of Parvo
What is Parvo?
Canine Parvovirus (commonly know as Parvo or CPV) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting dogs. It produces symptoms and illness that (even with proper treatment) can be life-threatening and even fatal.
Once the parvovirus has infected a dog it works by targeting rapidly dividing cells. A number of areas with in the body may be initially hit – such as the lining of the small intestine and bone marrow.
In young dogs, parvo can cause damage to the heart that may result in lifelong cardiac issues. This is the result of the virus attacking the white blood cells in the circulatory system, killing them off by suppressing bone marrow.
CPV is Highly Contagious
It is easily transmitted when any animal, person, or even an object comes into contact with the feces of an infected dog. Dogs can contract the disease by simply being in an area where an infected dog has been before.
The virus is extraordinarily resistant and can survive for months on any and all objects in a given environment, making the entire area highly dangerous for puppies and unvaccinated dogs.
Some dogs are more susceptible than others to this dangerous virus.
Without vaccination against the parvovirus, your dog is at much higher risk for contracting the virus should they come into contact with any carriers.
There are also certain breeds which seem to be more apt to contract parvo than others. These include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers and American Staffordshire terriers.
The virus also affects other members of the dog family including foxes, wolves, and coyotes.
Signs and Symptoms
These symptoms can lead to severe dehydration which can become life-threatening if not halted and reversed.
Lethargy is also one of the symptoms of parvovirus.
Should you suspect that your dog has been exposed to parvo or that they have acquired the disease, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
If you can, take a fecal sample (in a sterile container). Parvo is typically diagnosed with a fecal test called ELISA (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbant Assay), as well as looking at signs and symptoms.
The entire test takes about fifteen minutes and is performed in your veterinary’s office.
However, due to the fact that this test is not 100% specific, your vet may also want to run additional blood work and tests to be sure if your dog is infected.
How to Get Rid of Parvo
Treatment of parvo involves addressing the specific symptoms your dog is experiencing. This may include:
- Intravenous fluids (by drip).
- Blood transfusion (when blood cell counts are low).
- Antibiotics (when intestinal bacteria have also entered the bloodstream).
- Medication to control nausea and diarrhea.
There is no quick or instant cure for the virus, and the dog will need to stay at the vet clinic or hospital until the symptoms subside.
A typical stay for parvovirus is about five to seven days long and each dose given to treat symptoms can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000. Complete inpatient care is estimated to cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000 per dog for a single outbreak.
In 2014 there was some research into a cure. A company named Avianix was able to develop antibodies to combat the West Nile virus. They attempted to develop a cure for parvo using the same technique. An antibody-based treatment, which was harvested from goose egg yolks and named parvoONE was developed – however it is still in the experiment stage.
- Cerenia (Maropitant citrate) is a newer FDA-approved medicine used to treat motion sickness. It is used to prevent vomiting. (Available from Chewy with prescription).
- Your vet may also use an injectable antibiotic such as Convenia.
- It is also common for your dog to be given supplemental nutritional support during recovery. Products such as Tomlyn Nutri-cal may be used where the dog has lost weight.
There are various homeopathic or herbal remedies found online that claim to treat parvo, but there is no evidence to support these claims.
Getting Rid Of Parvo At Home
In the first instance, any dog that is currently affected with CPV should be isolated from other dogs.
If you have had a dog with parvo in your home, then extensive disinfecting is required. The parvo virus is particularly hardy, and can still infect dogs for many months outside.
Indoors, pay special attention to cleaning dog bedding, food areas, food and water bowls, and all surfaces that the dog has used.
Kennel Sol is used by many commercial kennels to keep areas disinfected – see at Amazon. It is effective against viruses such as Parvo.
You can also try to make your own disinfectant by mixing one part bleach to 30 parts water. You cannot use this outside (except on hard surfaces). Using it on your lawn or garden will kill the plants!
Preventing Parvo – Vaccinate!
Vaccinations are most effective when started in a young pup and kept up to date through adolescence. The parvo vaccine should never be skipped over and should be thought of as a core vaccine for dogs of all ages.
A commonly suggested vaccination for pups in the first few months of age protects against not only parvovirus but also hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza, and leptospirosis.
These types of vaccines are commonly known as 5-in-1 vaccines.
Usually, vaccines are started somewhere between the ages of six and eight weeks and boosters are continued every four weeks until the pup is sixteen to twenty weeks old.