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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Parvovirus Treatment for Dogs

Veterinary treatment for dogs with parvovirus

A dog or puppy with parvovirus should receive immediate veterinary care. Treatment will include the following:

  • IV fluids to counter dehydration
  • Antibiotics to prevent septicemia
  • Probiotics to replenish the normal intestinal flora
  • Injectable vitamins, especially Vitamins B & C to help the immune system
  • Colostrum to provide antibacterial elements to fight the infection within the gut
  • Glucosamine to coat the intestines
Recommended for dogs with parvovirus
Home treatment for dogs with parvovirus

Give dogs with parvovirus Fast Balance-G.I. to repopulate the damaged intestine with good bacteria. Provide frequent feeding of small amounts of warmed chicken broth. Once the vomiting has stopped, add a mashed potato (no butter or salt) to the warmed broth and continue feeding small amounts. If your dog's symptoms continue to improve, add a tiny amount of chicken to the broth and mashed potato. For a dog allergic to chicken, try dilute cottage cheese and rice or a form of rice baby food that is acceptable.

Human drinks, such as Gatorade and sports drinks, are not ideal for rehydrating pets because they are high in carbohydrates. They can be used for a short period. Meat broth is better for dehydrated or sick pets.

Vaccinations for parvovirus

Vaccination helps dogs avoid symptoms of parvo infection. Many dogs vaccinated as puppies maintain resistance to infection throughout life. In part, this protection is provided by antibodies made by your dog's white blood cells.

To confirm that your dog is protected, have your veterinarian draw blood and measure the level of parvo antibodies. This antibody level, also called a titer, is one gauge of your dog's protection against this specific disease. Many dog day care facilities accept titer tests as proof of protection rather than requiring that dogs be re-vaccinated annually.

Probiotics for parvovirus

In addition to vaccine-induced antibodies, you can help prevent parvovirus by promoting good bacteria in your pet's intestines. Good, healthy bacteria help your dog resist all types of infection. Feeding NaturVet Digestive Enzymes Plus Probiotic is an excellent way to maintain good intestinal bacteria.

Decrease your dog's risk by deworming

Dogs with intestinal worms tend to have a weak immune system, which puts them at a higher risk of contracting parvovirus. Prevent worms by using monthly heartworm medication that includes an intestinal dewormer. For example, use Heartgard Plus or Revolution. All heartworm medications require a prescription.

An alternative is to worm your puppy or adult dog four times a year with an over-the counter medication, such as Panacur C.

Sanitation and avoiding dog feces

Do not take a puppy without vaccine protection to pet stores, dog parks, or roadside pet elimination areas. If dogs with parvo have ever defecated in these areas, the virus can persist in the soil for several years. In addition to staying in the soil, the virus can be carried away from the site of defecation on shoes, so that areas in the vicinity of where dogs have defecated can also be a source of infection.

Prevent stress in your dog

Dogs stressed mentally or physically become ill easily because the adrenal glands secrete cortisol. Cortisol alters blood flow and it slows down disease-fighting white blood cells. If stressed, your dog's intestines will not receive the blood, oxygen, and white blood cells he or she needs to stay healthy. If your dog is exposed to parvovirus, the virus has an easier time becoming established and causing illness. Help your dog avoid stress by using the Adaptil Collar for Dogs, a collar that releases calming pheromones. Use Be Serene when traveling or making changes in the household.

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