JD, a 7 month old Labrador mix puppy, presented to Stagecoach Pet Hospital for vomiting and diarrhea for several days. No history of any toxins in the home and there was no history of chewing on any toys. There was no change in diet in the last several weeks. JD is not up to date on puppy vaccines.
JD had a normal body temperature and heart rate. He was not painful in his abdomen but he was very dehydrated on examination.
A parvovirus test was performed in house. The test was POSITIVE.
What is parvovirus? This is a virus that attacks the gastrointestinal tract. It causes inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Parvovirus is transmitted via fecal- oral route. This is why it is very important to perform an entire series of vaccines on all puppies and then be boostered yearly throughout their lifetime. The virus is very hardy and can live in the soil for over a year.
Treatment is centered around supportive care. There is no cure for the virus. Nor do we have reliable anti-viral drugs. We must rely on the patient to mount an immune response for recovery from the virus, just like humans do when it comes to the flu.
JD was hospitalized on intravenous fluids, anti- nausea medications, and anti- diarrheal medications. After 48 hours in the hospital, he became very bright, alert, and responsive. We offered a bland diet to eat and he ate it happily with no vomiting. At this point he was discharged home to continue his treatment via oral medications.
Not all parvovirus positive dogs do this well. There is a very high mortality rate with this condition. Be sure to get your puppies vaccinated on schedule to prevent this deadly virus.
JD is doing great now and his family is very happy!
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