Both the best farm dogs and the most pampered house dog can catch parvovirus, and the parvo recovery timeline is lengthy. Canine parvovirus is more serious in puppies and older dogs that have compromised health already. Since the virus attacks two main areas of resistance, the intestine lining and the bone marrow cells, the virus can spread quickly without being checked. In addition, cardiac damage has been seen in puppies as a result of infection with parvovirus. The cardiac factor in puppies is usually a result of the mother having little to no immunity to parvo, also. The parvo recovery timeline should begin as soon as possible in order to increase the dog’s chances of survival.
Seeking immediate treatment when you observe signs of parvo will give your dog the best chance of survival. This will also lessen the time your pet is sick. One thing is sure, the chance of your dog surviving parvo without the appropriate medical support and nursing care, is very low.
When in the Parvo Recovery Timeline is My Dog Out of the Woods?
How long does parvo last is dependent on many factors. The age of your dog is important. Puppies are not physically as strong as mature dogs and their immune systems are not ready to battle a strong attack from parvo. Elderly dogs may have the same limitations, especially if they are also fighting other illnesses associated with aging. In most cases the stronger the dog is when contracting parvo, the better the chance of recovery. A dog that is well fed, healthy, immunized against common diseases, and physically strong, will have an almost 95% chance of recovery with proper treatment.
The initial treatment is traditionally performed in a veterinary clinic or hospital. The first thing the vet will do is isolate your dog. This protects other dogs in the clinic and also keeps your weakened dog from contracting a secondary infection.
Supportive care should begin as soon as possible. IV fluids will be administered to keep your dog hydrated. Electrolytes are included in the IV fluids to keep the internal organs functioning. Medications for nausea and diarrhea are given to make your dog more comfortable. An antibiotic is started to keep secondary infections from infecting your dog. Parvo is a painful virus to endure so often a pain medication is administered to keep your dog comfortable.
This initial treatment lasts three or four days. Most evidence points to a very good chance of survival if the dog survives the first few days of supportive treatment. Keep in mind that there is no cure for parvo and the supportive health care is the best way for the dog to survive while the virus runs its course. The full course of treatment can last many days, and the dog can still be shedding virus for weeks or months after recovering.
Parvo Recovery Timeline — A New Protocol
A few years ago, a study was conducted at the Colorado State University Teaching Hospital using at home supportive care for dogs suffering from parvovirus. The cost of inpatient treatment for parvo infections leads to many people being unable to afford the veterinary care and choosing euthanasia as an alternative. The heartbreaking decision led to the researchers sending patients home to be cared for with medications and supplies. Although the study still showed a better survival rate with hospital care over in home care, the difference was slim. The findings noted that in-home care resulted in 85% survival rate as opposed to a 90% percent survival rate for those admitted to the veterinary hospital. The in-home protocol saves the dog’s owner hundreds of dollars over the parvo recovery timeline.
Giving Your Dog the Best Chance of Surviving Parvo
Keeping your dog in top condition will help his immune system function best. Things such as dog paw pad injury, external parasites and internal parasites, ear infections, and GI tract upsets should be treated promptly. Deworming as necessary strengthens the dog’s immunity by keeping the intestinal tract healthy. Just as in humans, GI tract health is an important factor in health.
Avoid areas with dog droppings until the dog is fully vaccinated. Over the past few decades, the vaccine for canine parvovirus has been shown to be the best method of fighting this virus.
Is there a Cure for Parvovirus in Dogs?
Currently, no cure has been released. One pharmaceutical company has an experimental antibody formula in testing. The study derived from noting that antibodies from geese egg yolks are effective. The company is hoping to release the antibody soon.
Natural Cures for Parvo — Do They Work?
Holistic health care in dogs is of interest to many. A growing number of dog owners do not routinely vaccinate their dogs. People who choose natural immunity over vaccinations spend much time considering the alternative choice to not vaccinate. Supporters of this method state that exposing puppies to short times in an environment likely to be ripe with both distemper and parvovirus, builds natural antibody titers. Holistic veterinarians test the blood titers for the subsequent immunity and find it as high as in dogs receiving traditional vaccinations. Many people object to conventional vaccinations. Others find fault with the vaccination schedule finding it to be over vaccinating at an unnecessarily high rate. If you are concerned about the vaccinations your pet is receiving take note that the only vaccine required by law is for rabies. Discuss all treatment options and your concerns with your vet.
A serious canine illness such as parvo does not mean the end of your pet. Talk openly with your veterinarian about finances, options, and what course of treatment will be the best. Remember that most dogs that receive treatment and supportive nursing care recover from this dreaded disease.