Happy, healthy puppies who suddenly turn deathly ill in a matter of days, with survival rates as low as 9% ! Every dog owner and veterinarian’s nightmare: parvovirus.
What is Parvovirus?
So, lets take a look at the 4 steps to prevent parvo in puppies!
Canine parvovirus, or commonly “parvo,” is just what the name indicates: a virus.
In short, parvovirus is a single strand of DNA, which infects cells so that it may replicate, and then kills the cells in the process (1,2).
The strain of parvovirus in puppies that is commonly observed is CPV-2.
This strain of the virus infects cells that multiply rapidly, especially those in the lining of the intestines (2).
When the virus damages these intestinal cells, the gastrointestinal tract is no longer fully functional, causing larger problems for the dog.
Video: causes & symptoms of Parvo in dogs
How do puppies get Parvo?
Parvovirus is a highly contagious virus, so it can spread rapidly from dog to dog (3). Parvovirus is shed from an infected dog (whether showing symptoms or not) through the feces. Subsequently, any dog who comes into contact with the fecal matter may become infected by the virus (3,4).
Unfortunately, the virus is resistant to many things, including heat, cold, dry temperatures, and even many disinfectants (3,4). It can be transported on lots of different surfaces, meaning that even if you unknowingly step in dog poop that is contaminated, you may bring the virus home with you.
Parvovirus more commonly infects young puppies, 6 weeks to 6 months of age (1,2). Puppies do not have fully developed immune systems at this age, because immunity given by their mothers is short-lived, and they have not yet developed their own full immune system or been vaccinated.
As the immunity from their mothers declines prior to vaccination, puppies become susceptible to the virus (2,3). Additionally, adult dogs who haven’t been fully vaccinated or vaccinated at all may be at risk of contracting the virus (3).
Symptoms of Parvo in puppies
Parvovirus symptoms in puppies include: (3)
- Severe diarrhea
- Lethargy or Depression
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
If your puppy exhibits any signs of parvovirus, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away to get a proper diagnosis.
You need to act fast, as the first 48-72 hours are pivotal for potential treatment (3,4).
Even if they do not have parvo, these symptoms could indicate another problem that needs to be treated as quickly as possible.
How long do puppies live if they have Parvo?
If your puppy is diagnosed with parvo, it is likely not going to be an easy road ahead. However, the good news is that you got your puppy to the vet and diagnosed, which is a huge step towards having your pup make a full recovery.
Can a puppy survive getting Parvo?
With proper treatment, up to 90% of the dogs who contract parvo will survive, compared to far worse survival rates in those left untreated (4).
It is likely that your puppy will have to be hospitalized for proper treatment.
Because parvo is a virus, there isn’t a specific medication that can treat it alone, like some antibiotics can treat bacterial infections (4).
Instead, the main focus of treatment is supportive care to the dog.
IV fluids will be given to dogs with parvo to help combat severe dehydration that is associated with diarrhea and vomiting (2,4).
The vet will also determine if other medications are needed, which may include:
electrolytes, antimicrobials to prevent secondary infections, analgesics (pain relievers), anti-nausea drugs, nutritional support, and more (2).
Nutritional support is becoming more important in parvo treatment for puppies.
Originally, it was common to treat parvo patients with nil per os, or NPO for short, which means feed was withheld from the patient (5). However, more recently, research has shown that enteral nutrition (nutrition to the digestive tract via a feeding tube) is an important factor in healing and recovery (5).
While the exact methodology and feeding program will vary by veterinarian and patient, this nutritional intervention may help shorten hospital stays, and improve healing of the enterocytes, the absorptive cells in the small intestine (5).
Parvovirus in dogs treatment
Other research has shown therapeutic effects of probiotic supplements for puppies with parvo (6).
Probiotics promote optimal gut health conditions by promoting healthy bacteria, removing toxins from the gut, and aiding in proper digestion.
One study found that puppies treated with probiotics had shortened recovery times compared to those not receiving probiotics (6).
Additionally, probiotics are beneficial to restore the health of the gastrointestinal tract when receiving treatments such as pain medications and antibiotics which may be given in the treatment of parvo, and therefore are a good addition into a recovery program.
Stages of Parvo
Stage 1: Exposure
Exposure to an uninfected dog through diseased feces, where the virus can live for up to a year in the dirt.
This virus can also be passed by your dog sniffing an infected dog’s butt or ingesting its saliva.
Stage 2: Incubation
The incubation period of the Parvovirus from first contact is three to five days.
It is impossible to know early on whether or not your dog has been exposed to this very hardy virus.
If you learn that your pet may have come in contact with an infected dog, it may be a good idea to contact your veterinarian.
Stage 3: Symptoms Appear
After five to eight days after first exposure symptoms are likely to begin to appear.
Stage 4: Veterinarian Diagnosis
Moving quickly to get your dog to the vet if you suspect Parvo will be your best action to ensure your dog recovers.
A veterinary professional will be able to administer an in-clinic test that can quickly confirm Parvo if present.
Undiagnosed dogs with the Canine Parvovirus have a very slim chance for survival.
Stage 5: Treatment
A dog can recover at home if the disease is caught early enough, and drugs are prescribed by your veterinarian.
Most often treatment begins with rehydration through the use of IV fluids to counter the loss of liquids through vomiting and diarrhea.
This is followed by the administration of antibiotics, anti inflammatories, antispasmodics and vitamins.
Stage 6: Recovery
Puppies recovering from Parvo will take anywhere between 14 and 20 days, and this is true for older dogs as well.
While in treatment and recovery it will be important to keep your pet isolated from other dogs.
It will also be a good idea to disinfect anything your dog uses as well as the room your dog is staying in.
Can a vaccinated dog get Parvo?
It is essential to vaccinate your dog against parvo in order to prevent infection.
Vaccinated dogs may not develop immunity in rare instances, so it is good practice to be aware of the signs of parvo, regardless of vaccination status.
Early signs of Parvo
The most common symptoms of parvovirus include lethargy, loss of appetite, stomach pain, bloating, fever, vomiting, and severe, often bloody diarrhea. As a result of persistent vomiting and diarrhea, the body dehydrates rapidly, and septic shock can result from damage to the intestines and immune system.
Is it ok to give dogs probiotics every day?
The answer is YES, you should give your dog probiotics every day.
It’s important, however, that you give them the most effective ones as they will make a big difference in keeping your dog’s gut health and immune system happy and healthy with your dog being less prone to illnesses.
A recent scientific study reports that 70% to 80% of all illness begins in the gastrointestinal tract! that’s why this supplement is essential for your dog’s immune system and overall health.
Can I give my dog human probiotics
There is no harm in taking human probiotics; they are not harmful to them.
While they provide some benefits, they are not as effective as supplements that are tailored to specific species.
There is a possibility that the dog-specific bacteria are combined with similar strains of bacteria found in human supplements.
Probiotics for dogs are available in a variety of forms, including soft chews, oral gels, pastes and powders. They can be given as a treat or mixed in food.
Dog Probiotics side effect
Although they can present some side effects, probiotic supplements usually aren’t dangerous.
When starting probiotics, some dogs may experience digestive discomfort, diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, or nausea. There may be a temporary worsening of a digestive symptom before it improves. An adverse reaction may be detected early by changes in appetite.
Probiotics for puppies with diarrhea
Full Bucket's Puppy Probiotic
FullBucket Puppy Probiotic Paste is a highly concentrated yeast-based formula that supports early gut and immune health in puppies.
With probiotic, prebiotic, dried egg product, digestive enzymes & L-glutamine.
HOW IT HELPS YOUR PUPPY:
- The first and only gut health supplement of its kind, the paste supports the developing GI and immune system in puppies
- Naturally supports your puppy’s health
- Supports early immune system health
- Maintains proper gut flora
WHAT IT CONTAINS:
- 1.25 Billion CFU’s of Saccharmoyces cerevisae boulardii, a yeast strain of probiotic that is safe to use during antibioitc therapy
- Probiotics – to support a healthy immune system
- L-Glutamine – Helps maintain a healthy intestinal tract
- Prebiotics – Support a healthy microflora
- Microencapsulated for maximum protection and efficacy
- Non GMO
- Gluten Free
- 100% overdose free
Best probiotic paste for dogs
How can I avoid Parvovirus in puppies?
There are some steps that you can take to prevent your puppy (or dog) from contracting parvovirus.
Keep puppy areas clean and free of any fecal matter.
- If you take your puppy or dog outside to play or to go on a walk, prevent them from coming into contact with another dog’s fecal matter.
- If puppies have not been fully vaccinated, it is not recommended to take them to places such as dog parks, daycare or boarding facilities, kennels, or puppy training classes, because you do not know if other dogs have been vaccinated or may carry the virus.
- Once dogs are of the proper age, be sure to get their parvovirus vaccine series, and keep them up to date on their proper boosters (3,4).
- As parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract, supporting a healthy gut may help reduce the risk of contracting the virus, or limit the damage that occurs.
- FullBucket’s Puppy Probiotic is formulated specifically for puppies, and promotes gut health, proper digestion, and immune function. Additionally, FullBucket’s Puppy Probiotic is specially formulated by veterinarians to include parvo antibodies.
This can help protect puppies from contracting the virus if they become exposed by boosting their immune system specifically against parvovirus.
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Best probiotic for puppies - take home message
Parvovirus is a virus that attacks the canine digestive system, especially puppies who have not yet developed full immunity. If your puppy begins showing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and fever, it is important to get them to a veterinarian immediately for treatment.
In order to prevent your puppy from contracting parvo, make sure to keep them in a clean environment, and prevent them from being exposed to fecal matter or other dogs who may carry parvo.
When you can, get your puppy vaccinated for parvo and stay on top of their booster shots so they are protected for life.
In the meantime, you can provide your puppy with FullBucket’s Puppy Probiotic to support gut health and immunity, and provide them with antibodies to protect against parvovirus.
Did you know that there is an all-natural method to relieve inflammation, pain, and discomfort in dogs that works better than pharmaceuticals? Check out our page on Canine Cush for Dogs.
The best probiotic for dogs - Read More
- https://www.theveterinarynurse.com/review/article/early-enteral-nutrition-in puppies-with-
- https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288118316_Therapeutic_effects_of_probio tic_bacteria_in_parvoviral_enteritis_in_dogs