Parvovirus infection is a severe and potentially life-threatening problem for dogs, but if detected early the disease can be treated and survival and a return to health become more likely.
The disease seems to affect puppies more commonly than adult dogs, and to strike dogs with darker black and tan coloration than other breeds (why the latter happens is not known), and so you should be especially on the watch for parvo symptoms in your puppy or your dark-furred adult dog.
Symptoms of parvovirus commonly include foul-smelling diarrhea, often with bloody stool or a yellow color. Loss of appetite, vomiting, low energy, and a depressed appearance follow on the diarrhea. High fever and dehydration may also occur.
Contents at a Glance
Treatment Of Parvo
There is little that can be done for parvo other than symptomatic treatment. However, treatment of symptoms, especially preventing dehydration, can mean the difference between life and death. When you take your dog to the vet with symptoms of parvo, that is what will likely be done.
The dog will be placed on an IV to restore fluids and keep it from becoming dehydrated or malnourished. Nausea medication may also be given to prevent further regurgitation. While an IV may be administered at home if you have the expertise, normally hospitalization of the infected animal is the correct procedure. Parvo is a virus infection and so will not respond to antibiotics.
There are some popular treatments and natural remedies for parvo, the most popular of which is Parvo-K. Testimonials abound for the effectiveness of this homeopathic remedy, which is also aimed at symptomatic treatment. It allegedly helps restore firmer stools, prevent dehydration, and lower fever. Even if you decide to use Parvo-K or another natural remedy, you should still consult a vet.
Another important concern is that parvo is highly contagious. You will need to keep the infected animal isolated from any other animals that might catch the disease.
Parvovirus In Humans
One strain of parvovirus or other exists that will infect most mammal species, including humans. However, humans cannot catch parvo from dogs or vice-versa.
The strains of the virus for the two species are very different. Human parvovirus is most likely to affect children, just as its canine counterpart most often infects puppies. The symptoms of human parvovirus in children are typically less severe than those of canine parvovirus in puppies, and the disease is very rarely life-threatening. Human parvovirus in adults can be more serious. Consulting a doctor is advised.
Parvovirus In Cats
The symptoms of feline parvovirus are the same as those of the canine version of the disease: diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and high fever. Feline parvovirus attacks kittens more often than adult cats, just as canine parvo attacks puppies and human parvo attacks children more often than adults. However, feline parvovirus is even more dangerous for kittens than the canine version is for puppies. The kitten requires twenty-four-hour intensive veterinary care and even then rarely survives.
Feline parvo, like its canine equivalent, is highly contagious and it is difficult to protect other kittens in a household from exposure if one is infected. However, canine parvo is seldom infectious for cats and vice-versa. The key word here is “rarely” — some few strains of the virus can infect either type of animal. For this reason, although an outbreak of parvo in one species is unlikely to cross over to the other, a watch for symptoms in both groups of animals is still recommended if you have both dogs and cats and one or the other shows symptoms of parvovirus infection.