Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease in canines. The fatality rate in infected dogs is significant, and there is currently no available drug that directly kills the virus. So, the best way to make your pets feel better is to alleviate the symptoms and help their immune systems combat the virus on their own.
5 Common Symptoms Of Parvo And How To Treat Them
1. Bloody Diarrhea
The parvovirus causes the most damage to the gastrointestinal tract. First, it targets the villi — small protrusions in the small intestine responsible for nutrient absorption. Second, it destroys the barrier separating the bloodstream and the digestive tract, resulting in blood leakage in the gut.
By destroying the barrier separating the circulatory and digestive system, metabolic byproducts and some of the gut flora may contaminate the blood. This is very dangerous as the immune system is also compromised.
Now, since no drug attacks parvo itself, your vet will instead issue a prescription of antidiarrheal medication. Follow the doctor’s order and wait for the results. If you desire, you may also use some herbs like garlic, scute root, and indigo.
Like the first parvo symptom, vomiting is also due to the upset stomach of your dog. Their vomit may also contain blood that made its way to the digestive tract.
Again, follow the vet’s recommended medication to prevent vomiting. Herbal intervention may include dandelion. Dandelion roots are rich in inulin — a soluble dietary fiber that promotes gut health and supports the good bacteria in the stomach.
Another parvo treatment that you may try is phosphorus. In homeopathy, phosphorus is known to address diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
An infection causes the immune system to launch an attack by producing antibodies to deal with the pathogen. The series of biological functions cause an elevated body temperature, which we perceive as fever. In other words, fever, up to a certain temperature, is a physical manifestation that the immune system tries to fight off the invading particle.
To lower your dog’s body temperature, rub a wet rag in their paws, belly, neck, and butt. Aside from the prescription of your vet, another treatment that you may try is aconite. Aconite was shown to treat fever and restlessness, anxiety, chills, hypersensitivity, and fear.
4. Weight Loss
Expect your dog to shed some pounds since the nutrient absorption is compromised when the villi are attacked. The loss of appetite also doesn’t help.
To maintain normal body functions, the body will use its energy reserves (i.e. glycogen — the storage form of carbohydrates). Once the glycogen levels are depleted, the body will utilize fat and then protein. Protein makes up the muscle tissues, so when it is used as an energy source, the body loses its muscle mass.
Even if they don’t have the appetite, encourage your dogs to eat small amounts of food. Make sure that their foods are easy on the stomach to prevent vomiting. Vet-recommended dog food must be rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
Garlic and dandelion, which are recommended to treat bloody diarrhea and vomiting, are also nutrient-dense. A garlic clove contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, vitamin A, thiamine, zinc, taurine, and niacin. On the other hand, dandelion greens are rich in Vitamins A, C, E, K, folate, and other B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Due to fluid loss brought about by diarrhea and vomiting, your dog may suffer from dehydration. Aside from the fluids, nutrients are also lost. Severe dehydration will also cause multiple organ failure, and if left unaddressed, death.
Fortunately, you can rehydrate your dog in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a salt solution and a syringe.
Using two fingers, create a fold of skin at your dog’s neck and inject the saline solution. A small bump will form, and you need to wait an hour after the bump disappears before repeating the process. In giving subcutaneous fluids, use a syringe with a needle of appropriate size to avoid any injury to your dog.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
All of the above parvo treatments won’t be necessary if your dog hasn’t contracted the virus. There are two things a dog owner must do to prevent parvo.
First, maintain good hygiene. When visiting places with high dog traffic, take extra caution that your dog doesn’t come close to other dog’s excrement. The parvovirus is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, so be extra careful in dog parks, hiking trails, and pet-friendly establishments.
As for the owner, always wash your hands after petting a dog suspected to have parvo. Humans are not affected by the virus, but you can be a vector of transmission to other dogs. Dog owners need to sanitize kennels or other contaminated areas where an infected dog was contained.
The second course of action is vaccination. Puppies must be vaccinated after weaning, with two booster shots at a three-week interval. Adults should have up-to-date immunization as well.
Even after completing the booster shots, puppies must be isolated three to four weeks after the third dose. Doing so will help ensure that they already developed full immunity. Booster shots a year after the third dose and every three years afterward should keep the virus away.
Having a dog is like raising a baby. They make you excited to go home since you know that they will be there waiting patiently for your return. You do whatever you can in your capacity to provide for their needs and give them comfort.
Despite all these efforts, there’s always the chance that they will contract a disease like parvo. The probability is even greater if they are exposed to other dogs that have the virus. If your dog comes from a poorly maintained shelter, it may be a contributory factor for infection.
All these worries are addressed when you foster through Doobert. Doobert has a vast network of accredited shelter and rescue organizations that help match animals with their future foster homes. You will also be assured that the pets that you get from Doobert are well taken care of, especially against a deadly virus like parvo. You can sign up as a foster today and be a guiding home to our furry friends!