First things first. I learned this morning that Riley is stable. She had no vomiting or diarrhea through the night and the doctor is going to try feeding soon. If she can keep her food down, then she gets to come home early. Right now I’m sitting in my pajamas with a raging headache and I’m exhausted. The past three days were exhausting and I want to share with you what I’ve learned about Parvo and the symptoms of Parvo in dogs.
Please don’t use this to diagnose your dog; but I do hope that I can help others catch this early, because that’s when you have the best chance of saving your puppy.
Riley came home Saturday night and she was a healthy happy puppy until early Thursday morning. It started with diarrhea and vomiting. She was a little down, but it seemed like she’d ate something yucky. We took her to the vet Thursday afternoon where she got fluids and an anti-nausea shot (which burns a little and scared her). Riley’s diarrhea became watering – not runny, watery and white/yellow. I know now that these are classic symptoms of Parvo in dogs.
I slept with Riley Thursday night and she wasn’t doing great on Friday, but didn’t seem worse. We were prescribed Metronidazole to help with the diarrhea, it worked, but then Riley started vomiting again. She had nothing in her tummy, so it was mostly stomach bile and foam. I know her throat and mouth had to hurt and she kept rubbing at her mouth. By the way, the Metronidazole is very bitter and hard to give her since she woudn’t eat. I mixed baby food (approved by the vet) with a crushed pill and gave it to her that way. She hated it.
I called the vet and was told that she should be better Saturday afternoon; if she wasn’t, then go to the Everett Emergency Vet.
I slept with Riley Friday night and told myself that I would take her to the vet if there was no improvement. We arrived at the emergency vet at 2:45 and she was admitted 15 minutes later after she had an accident on their table (thick,with blood and a very strong non-poop smell). The vet did a fecal test and it tested positive for Parvo. The people there were amazing and assured me that she would be fine, explained everything that they planned to do and the cost, and they sent me home with tons of information on Parvo.
Disinfecting the House
I started disinfecting the house when I got home and after I finish this post, I’ll be mopping the floors. We’re washing all the blankets and my clothing with bleach (which is the best way to kill the virus). I’ve learned that this virus loves to stick around and it can hang for a long time. Our house is now off limits for a month and we’ll have to stay vigilant on cleaning.
Disinfecting the Yard
How do you disinfect a yard from Parvo? Good question! We’re going to take a hose to the areas that Riley “went” and I’m going to the pet store to find a disinfectant that is safe for dogs that I can spray in these areas and in shaded areas. Since it was raining all week last week (hard too) then the virus has been disbursed pretty well, but I want to do all that I can to keep our property safe. We can’t invite any puppies onto our property for 7 months.
Where did she contract Parvo?
Parvo has an incubation period of about a week so she picked it up at the shelter. The other dogs picked up with her by our rescue group are going to be tested too. I’ve also notified anyone we were in contact with so that they are aware. Our dogs aren’t at risk and our cats are safe too. Our dogs were fully vaccinated and they’re fine. There is a Parvo for cats, but it’s a different strain. Cats can’t catch it from dogs and humans are safe too.
Even though a dog is vaccinated, they can still carry it on their coat if they’ve been in contact with another dog that has Parvo. So we’re avoiding the dog park for the rest of May until Riley is fully vaccinated and out of the woods. There are areas of the country where Parvo is more prevalent, talk to your vet to see if you live in one.
Chance of survival is 80% with proper care
Riley has an excellent chance of coming home and her doctor is very upbeat and positive. I’ve also scheduled a Reiki session for her this afternoon to give her a little more from her Angels. I know that not everyone believes in this, but I believe in doing everything I can physically and spiritually for our animals and I believe that Reiki Fur Babies can help.
I’ve read that the chance of survival is 80% with hospital care. 80% is great, but keep in mind that this stat takes in to account all cases of Parvo. It is much higher for cases that are caught early, like Riley. If you can’t afford hospital care, see if they take payment arrangements or have a credit line; chances of survival at home are lower, because it’s more difficult to hydrate the dog (among other things), but a vet will work with you.
I was lucky, because the rescue group we support are going to help with the bill for Riley. I cried when they told me. I was crying all afternoon, because Riley was going to get better. I cried because I was never alone in this; dog lovers surrounded me in life and online with such amazing and immediate support. I cried when my boyfriend was preparing to wright a check for half the care. I cried when my mom said “tell my grandbaby to grandmommy is praying for her.” And I laughed through my tears when the vet realized that it was relief that made me cry and not me giving up.
Although Parvo is horrible, having a diagnosis and a treatment plan was such a relief.
Important Update about Parvo: this is important! Parvo isn’t overcome in 48 hours. I’m sure there are miracle cases out there, but I about fell apart when I realized that she wasn’t coming home after 48 hours. I’ve done more researched and learned that a hospital stay is about 4-5 days (there were cases of longer stays). Many people say that after 5 days, there dog was nearly back to normal, tired, but on the mend.
What is Parvo?
I don’t actually know and my brain has melted down from information overload. But I do know that it’s a virus and there’s no drug to counter act it; just a vaccination to prevent it. Riley had her first booster, but not her second. From what I read, and I’m not sure if this is true, but I learned that once a dog survives from Parvo, they’re protected. Sounds like Chicken Pox.
Riley is receiving fluids through an IV and she’s on antibiotics to fight the secondary infections Parvo creates. What the doctors are trying to do is keep Riley healthy and hydrated while her body creates the antibodies to defeat the Parvo. She’ll come home with antibiotics.
I’ve been told that she’ll be better, but not back to 100% and that we need to restrict activity. No problem, she’ll spend the first night in my lap being hugged and kissed.
Riley had classic symptoms of Parvo in dogs; diarrhea, vomiting, and listlessness. Other symptoms are fever (but not necessarily, Riley never had a fever) and blood in the stool (Riley only developed this one when we arrived at the emergency clinic). The stool has a very different smell too. You won’t forget it.
Important Update: Parvo is a virus so there is no shot to make it go away. Think of the colds we get; we just have to wait it out and all the medicines out there are just to make us more comfortable. We have good days and bad days, but after about a week, we’re starting to feel like ourselves and we’re starving. That’s what I’m expecting with Riley.
Rodrigo and Sydney
As I stated, their fine, but I wanted to share that Sydney would sleep by Riley’s kennel to watch her and they both were worried about her. They looked around for her a lot yesterday.
I know, I can’t wait for her to come home too.
If you suspect your puppy or dog has Parvo – go to the vet now. Don’t self diagnose online. In fact, stay away from the dog forums, because they’ll scare the hell out of you. Talk to your vet today!