Will my dog get worse?
The answer no one wants to hear is “There’s no way to know for sure.”
Every dog going through parvo has ups and downs. However, the good news is there are ways to prevent them from getting worse and avoiding the downs all together.
1. CATCH IT EARLY
The earlier, the better. I knew my dog Alice was exposed and started her on all the prevention methods. The preventative method is all listed on my page Preventing Parvo. She had nothing more than lethargy and one or two small vomits.
The short of it is you want a gentle laxative to sweep the virus out of the intestines and an immune support for clearing it out of the lymph system.
For this, I usually use herbs like senna pod tea, slippery elm and aloe vera for clearing it out of the intestines and things like colloidal silver and parvaid and vibactra plus for immune system support.
2. DO NOT EVER LET THEM FILL THEMSELVES ON PROCESSED DOG FOOD
Every time I have ever seen, witnessed or heard about someones dog who has taken a dip for the worse it’s because the owners let their puppy eat wet dog food or kibble until full.
There’s a psychology behind this. We tend to equate food with nourishment and health. If we feel nauseated, a loved one will tell us to eat some crackers. If we have a cold loved ones make us chicken soup. We make the connection that food equals love. But NOT SO with dogs. This can and has the extreme potential to ruin your dogs progress.
Usually upon the first symptoms of parvo, we test to see if our puppy will eat. We offer them food and they reject it. Their immune system is going through a fight that is losing and winning all in the first 3 days. Later in the day, we try offering it again and they accept. We feel like “hurray! My dog is getting better!” and we let them eat until they are full, mistakenly thinking this is helping them.
In the wild, wolves fast when sick. They do not burden their system with the requirements of digesting food and especially NOT kibble or canned food which is devoid of enzymes to help digest the food. We tend to not realize that the process of digestion is a very taxing job in of itself and even more when your dog is sick.
So I will say this again, you are not helping your dog, but in fact hurting him when you feed him until full if he is sick. It is hard to withhold food when your dog is sick, we feel mean. The dog doesn’t know the difference anyhow and for the greater good it is love to withhold the food.
Once your dog is notably feeling better, 3-4 days later in most cases, give them tiny amounts every other hour then every hour. Watching very closely to make sure it doesn’t start the vomiting cycle again.
3. KEEP THEM FROM VOMITING BY KEEPING THEM HYDRATED
If they don’t drink any water for more than a day and keep vomiting, they are likely already very dehydrated.
Signs of dehydration are pale gums and loss of skin elasticity. Pull up on their neck skin, if it takes longer than 3 seconds to snap back into place they are probably dehydrated. Or look at their gums, press the gums and if it takes more than 5 seconds to get pink again they are dehydrated.
Give them enemas or take to the vet to get sub q fluids. The cost varies for sub q, but usually it’s between 30$ and 60$ plus the visitation fee.
Never EVER force feed or force liquid. They can aspirate/choke. Water can get into their lungs and cause a secondary infection. Forcing liquid can also make them vomit even more it also dehydrates them further by vomiting more.
4. Be DILIGENT
You MUST follow the suggested dosing times for your dog to pull through parvo. There is no exception, if your dog is in the middle of parvo you must be there to dose EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR. Even through the night.
This is the second most common thing I see people fail at. They say they do “everything” but I ask them, are you dosing at night? Enemas through the night? Usually they say no, they are sleeping. More than likely your dog will not survive if you aren’t diligent on learning the symptoms, dosing and preventing dehydration.
Visit the page on Treating Parvo for dosing quantities/times.
5. MONITOR TEMPERATURE
Take frequent temp readings. Less than 99 degrees is cause for concern. Regular dogs temp is 101. Usually with parvo, they run hot. You may have to keep them cool will cool rags or towels. However, if they start to take a turn for the worse, if their body starts to shut down, their temp usually goes down too. You will have to keep them warm in this case for their organs to function properly.
It’s good to know your dogs regular heartbeat and what it feels like. Keep an eye on heart beat during parvo if you already have a sense of what your dogs regular heartbeat is like. A really fast and rapid heartbeat indicates liver or organ failure. In this case it is a good idea to take your dog to the emergency vet. A slow heartbeat means they are shutting down this is usually in junction with a low temperature. Warm them up with warm rags. It must be a “wet” heat, not a dry heat like a heat lamp. The rags will need to be warmed up constantly.
How to take your dogs temperature:
Take your digital thermometer and put a plastic thermometer cover on it. Lube the first inch with vaseline. Lift tail and insert into rectum about 1″ (small dog) or 2″ (large dog) wait 1-2 minutes. 99-102 normal range. Under 99 is concerning as well as anything above 103.
Its a full time job, I’m not going to lie. You or someone else MUST have 24 hour access to your dog. Choosing to treat your dog at home can be a living hell. It is excruciating if you are living alone/have no one to help. But I will take that over my beloved dog sitting in some stainless steel cage all alone and cold.
Keep positive, your dog can feel it. They can sense positivity or negativity and feeling like “he’s not going to make it” or ” what’s the use” is something they pick up on. It may not be the only reason they pull through or not, but it definitely helps to send those positive vibes over to them.
As hard as it is DO NOT CRY in front of them. DO NOT hold them and cry. It really does scare them, they feel your sorrow and become afraid themselves.
If all of the above is fulfilled, there really is a huge chance your dog will pull through and make it. However, everything must be followed to the T or the rates of success fall considerably.
Best Wishes to all of you fighting for your puppies and dogs. :)
In my area, parvo virus is rampant. There is likely not one spot of ground in public areas that is not infected. Veterinarian offices do very well around here because of the rampant parvo.
How long does Parvo stay in the ground?
I have asked many vets around the area how long parvo virus stays in the ground and received many different answers. A few vets have said 9 years plus. Which is simply not true (Yes vets can be wrong). Most knowledgeable people on the matter say 6 months to 1 year if you live in a climate where summers have consecutive 100 degree days. If you live in a cooler climate where summers top out at 80 degrees or so with not much direct sunlight it could be as long as 3 years, possibly more.
Just one thimble full of stool can contain millions of virus particles. It is also shed through vomit and saliva. To my knowledge, I believe the dog only needs to inhale or ingest thousands of these particles to become infected. Unfortunately, virus particles are also shed by recently vaccinated dogs or puppies.
Virus particles travel most frequently by way of shoes, car tires and birds. This is why the contraction of the virus is unexplainable to many people. Most people will say “But my dog hasn’t been around other sick dogs, or even any other dogs for that matter.” Doesn’t matter. Dog sniffs car tire, there’s parvo particles on it, dog contracts parvo and shows signs of sickness 3-7 days later. Birds on your neighbors property hop around on parvo infected ground then jump over to your property and spread the virus around on their feet. Even flies can spread the virus to your dog, though probably rare. This is not to make you become paranoid, it is to spread awareness. With PROPER diet, exercise, immune support and happiness there really is nothing to worry about- parvo CAN BE just a minor cold that your dog gets over in matter of days with no bloody diarrhea or dehydration OR vet visits.
The most common way parvo is spread, is from dogs that have recently had parvo and survived. People wait a week or so before their dog is all better and start taking him for walks again, taking him to the pet store. What they don’t know is that for 4-6 weeks AFTER the virus has run its course, the dog is still shedding the virus in his feces. Possibly even through nose to nose contact. Every time the dog deposits excrement, for 4-6 weeks after healing from parvo, the dog is spreading virus to that ground.
So the question is how do we stop the spread? Or clean up the ground that is infected or may be infected?
The main way, the best way that I’ve always used is bleach. Everyone pretty much unanimously agrees that bleach is the best way.
Before doing so, you will want a whole day or so you can fully commit to clean up. Start with indoors and move to outdoors. Do not come back inside until outdoors are fully completed.
Start the furthest distance from the front door and work your way towards it.
For Hard Floors:
- Mop you don’t mind throwing away
- Hot Water
- 1/2 teaspoon or so Dawn
Fill a bucket with a gallon of HOT water, the hotter the better. CPV doesn’t do well with heat. Add dawn while bucket is filling then add 4oz or 1/2 cup of bleach to gallon. Stir in Dawn. Before you begin mopping, make sure to spot clean any areas that may have vomit or feces. The bleach is inactivated by organic material like dirt, feces and such so you will want to clean up the surface area as clean as possible.
Mop hard floors and let the mixture sit for AT LEAST 10 Full minutes. The evaporation helps oxygenate the virus which kills it. Then after the minimum 10 minute wait time you can dry floors.
If you don’t have a steam cleaner there really is no way to fully clean the carpets. CPV is said to not do well indoors and can only last a few months at the most, so if you want to leave them, just spot clean vomit/diarrhea areas. I am extra paranoid though, so I put the diluted bleach solution of 1:30 in the steam cleaner and steam cleaned all the carpets. I don’t have any special carpets or rugs, no wool or cotton so the bleach solution did nothing to the carpets. HOWEVER do a test spot before you try putting any bleach solution on your carpets!
As above, I used my steam cleaner with the furniture attachment and same bleach solution. Again, I don’t have any special heirloom or expensive furniture but the bleach mix did nothing to the color of the furniture.
The blankets, dog bed, toys, any towel used to clean up vomit or any fabric item that has been used near the dog for the duration of its sickness I would really just throw away. It’s not worth the work of worrying about if there is still some virus particles left in it. However I am just super cautious. If you really don’t want to throw them away wash them in hot water a few times with bleach and it should be safe.
Clean the bottom of any shoes you have worn while the dog has been sick with parvo with the bleach solution.
Obtain a hose end sprayer. Like this one:
You will have to work out the bleach ratio, but you can put pure bleach in the container and it will mix it in with the water itself. I’ve used it on three occasions and it has worked to the best of my knowledge.
I don’t really worry about curb appeal, my dogs lives and other dogs lives are more important to me, but as many times I’ve done this I have never seen the grass die or brown spots and I’ve used a strong ratio on the lawn. Even 1 cup bleach per gallon supposedly does nothing to your lawn.
Pick up all feces in the yard. You will want to spray in sweeping strips being careful to concentrate the heaviest where your dog has been or goes frequently. This can be a huge task, but worth the peace of mind. Spray extra long in areas where the diarrhea or vomit has been present.
If you need to go indoors at any time, place towel soaked in the bleach ratio on the porch, and step on it multiple times.
You will need to clean your car tires and the areas that the car tires have been. Pull the car out of the driveway or have someone take it to get a wash. While they are away, use the hose attachment and spray the driveway with the bleach solution.
You may even need to steam clean the inside of the car depending on if you took your dog to the vet in it. At the minimum steam clean the foot mats or buy new ones.
Some people are allergic to bleach, other people would rather keep it out of the environment. Nixall Disinfectant works for Parvo and it is environmentally safe.
Now the hardest part. You will need to keep your dog isolated from your other dogs for 4-6 weeks. He obviously needs to go outside for his duties, but it cannot be with the other young dogs/puppies. You must pick up the excrement right away and have a bleach spray solution ready to spray the spot.
****Do not take your dog to any parks, on walks, or any recreational areas for 4-6 weeks or you risk infecting other dogs or puppies.****
This is the most important! We are thankful our puppy has lived, and want to spend time with him, and it feels like punishment to keep him locked inside and not let him do things he loves. But for the possibility that another person’s dog may become infected and may not make it because our dog has spread the virus, it just isn’t worth it.
The above is the only way I have found the really works in keeping your other dogs or puppies safe from a parvo infected environment. If used with the prevention methods I have provided on this site it is pretty much fail proof. If you have dogs over the age of 3 there is no need to worry about transfer of parvo to your other dogs.
To those that have questions about how to help your dog through parvo; please read through all of the Treating Parvo page. There is a treasure trove of information there that can help you save your dog. Please be careful about the questions that you ask, I just cannot get to all of them and would hate for someone to rely on my answer alone without reading the content. Some questions can be rather redundant and I want to keep the comments section rather specific as opposed to “What can I do to heal/cure my dog from parvo?” So please, before you ask a question read thoroughly through the Treating Parvo content. Thank you.
New how-to for cleaning up after parvo is in the making. This is so important, you can get rid of 98% traces of parvo on your property and reduce the likelihood that another puppy of yours or someone else’s puppy will get parvo just by spending a few hours cleaning up.
Did you know that your dog can get parvo just by sniffing your car’s tires? The amount of virus particles your dog needs to inhale/ingest to be infected is so tiny that car tires can pick up virus particles of other car tires that have driven through or on infected defecation/vomit. You can bring parvo to your home just by driving over the very area that other infected vehicle tires have driven!
The how-to will be published Monday so check back then for new content!
First of all, if you haven’t found it yet, go to http://ambertech.com/ and scroll to the very bottom. Under “Quick Guides” there will be a pdf called “Self-Help Treating Parvo”. This is GOLD, and the fact that it is free is very honorable for Ambertech labs. You will NEED this information for helping your dog survive parvo.
Enemas are VITAL for puppies who have parvo. Not administering enemas substantially decreases the chance that your puppy will survive. Some people are “put off” by enemas, but it is an extremely useful practice as long as it’s done correctly. As a dog groomer, I can say that it is not nearly as degrading as expelling compacted anal glands.
You will want to administer an enema if the puppy is dehydrated. To test if he is dehydrated, pull up at the neck skin and let go. If the skin takes more than 3 seconds to snap back, he is dehydrated. You can also tell by the gums, press on the gums and if they take more than a few seconds to turn back to pink your puppy is dehydrated.
Sometimes puppies vomit when they are dehydrated, keeping your dog hydrated through another means is of vital importance.
If he is dehydrated, you will want to give him an enema EVERY HOUR, until he is hydrated again.
1. Always use warm water. Not hot! And not cold! You can slightly warm the fluid in a pan on the stove if you are using a refrigerated base like pedialyte or coconut water.
2. The fluid MUST have electrolytes! NEVER EVER give a straight water enema. The reason for this is because a straight water enema will only dehydrate your dog further.
3. You do not need to elevate the hind end while giving the enema, although you may want to if you find that the fluid is just not being absorbed.
Supplies you will need:
Dosing Syringe or childrens enema bag- If you have a larger dog, you can use a childrens enema bag, but if you have a puppy 20lbs or less, it is a good idea to use a LONG TIP dosing syringe (without a needle obviously). These can be difficult to find, you may have to plan on spending a couple hours searching the stores. Sometimes you can luck out and find one at a feed store but usually they are in the children’s medicine or baby area. If you get one at a feed store, don’t get the super huge one that you can’t plunge with one hand. You want your other hand free to either hold the tail, or hold the puppy. I prefer one with a plunger, and not the bulb syringes (ones used for sucking). You can’t see how much is going in or if your putting air into the intestine, plus its impossible to completely clean.
This is an excellent example of what to get; notice the long tip.
You can get the above at Cal Vet Supply
Pedialyte, coconut water, oat water- I use coconut water, its benefits far outweigh pedialyte. I have tried to oat water in a pinch, but I wouldn’t recommend it for continued use.
Parvaid- Parvaid is expensive, but trust me, it is well worth it.
Vaseline- To lube the tip
|Under 3lbs||1tsp||2 drops|
|11-20lbs||1 Tbsp||5 drops|
|21-30lbs||2 Tbsp||10 drops|
|31-40lbs||3 Tbsp||15 drops|
|41-50lbs||4 Tbsp||15 drops|
Step 1: Pre prep the electrolyte fluid by warming it on stove top or microwave to a warm BUT NOT HOT temperature. Mix with parvaid into a small dish. Suck the fluid up with the syringe.
Step 2: Lube tip with vaseline. Your dog can be laying down on his side with his SPINE STRAIGHT. Usually they are not feeling well enough to struggle and will just lay there completely compliant. Insert syringe tip 1/2″-1″ into the rectum.
Step 3: SLOWLY plunge the contents inside. For a dog weighing 3lbs, it should take you 2-3 minutes. For a larger dog weighing 30lbs, it should take you around 8 minutes. The goal is to slowly administer the fluid. If any leaks back out, stop, make sure the spine is still straight and wait for a minute. Make sure the tip is still inserted 1/2″ to and inch in.
After a few minutes, your dog may get up and expel all that you just dosed. Administer again if this happens. It is not recommended that you do enemas for more than a 24 hour period but that is more like a guide than a rule. If your dog just isn’t taking in the fluid you will need another source of hydration for your dog if he/she is still vomiting and not interested in drinking himself.
Other Types of Enemas:
Diatomaceous earth enema: If your dog has not yet expelled any diarrhea for the whole duration of parvo he may have worms preventing his healing. You can sprinkle a bit of DE with the electrolyte fluid and dose as a regular enema.
Colloidal Silver: A STRONG natural antibiotic, You can put 10-20 drops or so in an enema solution.
Activated Charcoal: 1/2 a capsule for a medium sized dog or 1/4 capsule for a small dog is great for absorbing toxins, mix with the electrolyte fluid.
Disinfecting the Syringe
After EACH use, wash with hot water and soap then disinfect with bleach. Rinse well, and never use the enema syringe for the oral dosing syringe.
I am *NOT* a veterinarian, the information I have given here on this entire blog is based on my experiences dealing with the Parvo Virus, PLEASE do your own research, get second opinions on what to do for your dog and make educated opinions based on what you know. The information in this blog is not meant to be a substitute for advice of a trained Veterinarian. I am not responsible for any damages from any of these treatments stated in this blog.
I’m putting together a How-to post called How to give your dog an Enema. I get asked frequently how to do this. It is frustrating to understand for someone who has never given their dog an enema before, and its very important that you do it right. Even more frustrating if your a hands on learner like me- someone can talk me through the steps of how to do something verbally, but it goes in one ear and out the other. I have to SEE it to understand it.
Without really knowing what your doing or even a vague sense of what your doing, fluids can leak everywhere, it can be done too fast giving your dog intestinal cramps, etc. Its not a pretty subject, but vitally important to dogs who have parvo. Without giving enemas, the chances of survival are very slim. If you cannot or refuse to do enemas you MUST do intravenous fluids from the vet.
Just letting everyone know that I had a problem with my email, it wasn’t notifying me of comments or would notify me several days late! I have fixed the problem, and I am getting comments on time now. I am very sorry to those that had a delayed response from me.
I have also personally been going through some health problems that have been making it hard to keep the blog updated. Lately I have been doing much better and I am about to start redoing the blog and developing it more, adding articles, pictures and How-To’s. So many people out there just cannot afford to spend $1,000+ on vet bills, and I really feel for those people because I have been one of those people (and hell, still am!). It never is about not WILLING to spend the money, it’s that you would do anything to save your little friend and sometimes alternative methods are the only way.
When I first started this blog, I had in mind that it probably never get very many visitors, being that alternative methods are controversial and most people don’t research parvo on their own. It was mostly created for that one or two rogue people who were desperately searching for other ways to help their dog. However, currently looking at the blog’s stats tells a different story. There are FAR more people looking into alternative parvo care than I origionally anticipated.
So for those of you who are new or frequent visitors, new content with pictures and how-to’s is coming!
Good wishes to those fighting for their dogs and puppies with parvo, always keep positive thoughts and healing in mind. Never let negativity enter the mind and never give up hope.