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Parvovirus Treatment Costs

Are you a new pet owner or a seasoned dog parent?  Regardless of your experience, it is so important to understand the potential dangers and diseases that can impact your furry friend. Parvo is a highly infectious and life-threatening disease that can go from bad to worse very quickly.  Check out some frequently asked questions below, and get to the bottom of why treatment of Parvo is so costly.  (Hint- vaccinate your pup to avoid the disease and expenses altogether!)


How did my dog get Parvo? Your dog most likely contracted the deadly virus from coming into contact with another infected dog’s feces.  An infected dog can shed the virus in his or her poop starting around three or four days after infection, and up to 14 days post-infection.  This means that the virus could literally be anywhere- especially because the disease can live in the environment for up to 7 months in protective conditions like shaded areas.


How can I diagnose my pet with Parvo? Take your dog to the veterinarian right away if you notice that your dog is lethargic, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or has a loss of appetite.  Only a veterinarian can accurately diagnose an illness.  At the hospital, your vet will perform a series of tests such as an antigen test, a urine analysis, a white blood cell count, abdominal X-rays, and an ELISA test, among other available testing methods.  The vet will also ask you to name all of the symptoms that you have noticed and how long they have been going on.  Make sure you bring your dog’s medical records with you as well, as the vet will most likely want to check the vaccination history of your pup.


Parvovirus Treatment CostsWhat is the cost of treatment? The cost of treating a dog with Canine Parvovirus will greatly depend on your specific veterinarian’s pricing, however, it typically costs anywhere between $500-$2,000 depending on the severity of the disease.  An antigen test alone can cost $40-100, plus the cost of an office visit.  An abdominal X-ray is typically $150-300, and a blood test is usually around $40-100.  If you bring your pet in during an emergency or when he or she is severely affected by the disease, the cost of treatment will likely increase drastically, especially if ICU or multiple days of hospitalization are needed.


So why is treatment so expensive? The cost of getting your dog treated for Parvo is very costly for several reasons.  Diagnosing the disease itself can cost a few hundred dollars, especially if more than one test is required.  Canine Parvovirus can oftentimes mirror other diseases that have similar symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite, so testing can be a pretty involved process.  After it has been confirmed that your dog does indeed have the virus, there are also costs for a hospitalization stay, IVs and medication, and any other surgeries or medical procedures that may be needed.

Parvovirus Treatment CostsDuring a hospital stay, your vet will administer fluids and potassium through an IV to boost electrolyte levels and maintain blood pressure. Oral intakes are usually avoided due to vomiting, so antibiotics are typically administered through intravenous methods as well.  Parvo can cause secondary illnesses and symptoms to occur, so surgery or other medical procedures may be needed. For example, if your dog does not respond to the traditional fluid therapy, your veterinarian may administer a blood plasma transfusion which expands the blood volume and replaces proteins that have been lost due to the disease.  Plasma transfusions also contain antibodies (blood proteins created to fight foreign substances in the body) that work against Parvo and can aid in more severe cases.  And let’s just say, these transfusions don’t come cheap.  Some can cost $150-300 a unit, or up to $500 for a whole blood transfusion.  A dog with a severe case can require $1,000 worth of blood products in a single day alone.


Pet insurance is a good idea– Pet insurance is just like medical insurance for people.  In the case of an accident or illness, pet insurance can help cover the cost instead of having to pay a large out-of-pocket vet bill.  Pet insurance could save you hundreds to thousands of dollars!


We know a Canine Parvovirus diagnosis can be scary and costly, but knowledge is your greatest resource!   Make sure your dog is current on all vaccines, and know what to look for if you suspect your dog is sick. If you cannot afford treatment, contact your local veterinarian first for treatment advice before trying home remedies.