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Beware of the Parvo virus

Thought Parvo couldn't happen to you? This blog is about Rocki, our little cinnamon and white Shitzu pictured in the bottom right of the photo. We rushed him to the animal hospital last night where he was diagnosed with Parvo, or Canine Parvovirus.

Parvo is a severe infection that causes intestinal damage. This leads to septicemia and severe dehydration that could be fatal. For some reason, certain breeds (Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher and English Springer Spaniel) have a much higher fatality rate that other breeds. It is a highly contagious virus that requires aggressive medical treatment immediately.

In our city, there is an epidemic outbreak of Parvo. Clinics are running out of supplies. I read about it in the paper but thought our little guys were very secure on their home turf. How wrong I was!

Because the main source of the virus is from the feces of infected dogs, I stopped walking my dogs in the area as poop is one of their passions: they love to sniff it and touch it. If it's goose poop, they wolf it down like they've never seen food. Since not every dog owner is a good citizen picking up their messes, I decided I would keep my dogs safe at home until the epidemic passed.

Despite all my precautions, Rocki still picked up the virus. How? I figured it out this morning when I was cleaning up the yard...he contracted it from flies. Think about it...flies congregate on feces and then come into your home. I was killing them with the flyswatter, but a couple of times I was too slow on the draw and Rocki ran over to eat them before I could pick them up.

So what are the symptoms? Well, Rocki threw up yesterday morning. We weren't too concerned at first. After all, Rocki is one of those dogs who puts everything he sees into his mouth so we figured he just ate something that didn't agree with him. Then he got a bit of diarrhea and I cleaned him up. That too has happened before when he ate something that didn't agree with him. However, what made me keep an eye on him was when he continued to vomit a white, frothy mucus. He wouldn't eat and didn't drink anything, yet he kept vomitting. As the day turned into night, he became more listless and unresponsive. I called a 24 hour emergency veterinarian and described the symptoms. They told me to bring him in immediately.

At 9:30 p.m. we arrived at the animal hospital where the vet began testing. Unfortunately, the one tried and true test for Parvo was unavailable. Because of the severe outbreak in the city, they ran out of the test. They called other local vets and they too had run out. The second method of determining Parvo was a rectal exam (which Rocki did not like too much and I couldn't even watch). The vet showed me that there was blood in the stool and she was able to detect Parvo by the smell of it...apparently, it has a very distinct odor. As a precaution they also took some blood because many dogs with Parvo (but not all) have a lower white blood cell count. Rocki's was normal.

Without the one test that determined whether or not Rocki definitively had Parvo, we had to make a decision: do we leave him at the hospital and treat him as if he has it, or do we take him home and treat him as if he just had vomitting and diarrhea and take the risk that he doesn't have a potentially fatal disease? The vet also told us that treating Rocki for Parvo will cost between $2,000 and $3,000.

In the end, we chose to treat him as though he had Parvo and left him at the hospital so treatment could begin. We were told that it could take between 2 and 5 days in the hospital before he is well enough to leave, and that there is a chance he may not make it. At this point he is in the hospital...we are waiting to hear how he is doing.

Some facts about Parvo: - it's hard to kill. The virus is resistant to heat, detergents, alcohol and most disinfectants. The only thing that will kill it is a 1:30 bleach solution. The virus has even been recovered from surfaces contaminated with dog feces after three months at room temperature.

- it's easily transmitted via the hair or feet of infected dogs, contaminated shoes, clothes and other objects or areas contaminated by the infected feces, so direct contact between an infected dog and a healthy dog is not necessary.


Helen said…
Hi just to say that we have a six months old shitzu but to bring him where he is now we went through hell. The breeder sold us the dog ill and we didn't notice till the night. Took him to the vets next morning as he didn't look right to me he was floppy, and not eating. she said he was dehydrated and gave him an injection under the skin, and then brought him home. I carry on at home giving him fluids by a special syringe every two hours but till the morning he was deteriorated. Took him back to the vets and they admit it him. Confirm that it was parvus through blood test plus stool sample and started treatment straight away. He was at the vets for 2 1/2 weeks even the vets one day she call me and said not too good prognosis . He want make it till the morning. Got really upset. Done some browsing on net and come across a medicine from America called parviet. I immediately order it and waited for dispatch day. once received it took it to my vets and they agreed to try it out as it wasn't license in uk. My puppy thank got for that its still here, the vet bill was more than 1.000 pounds but i had to save him. it was the most stressful experience that the whole family went through. I cant believed that they are people out there selling ill dogs and do not care for this beautiful and adorable dogs. Just hang in there it might take time as i mention took 2.1/2 weeks for him just to pass the danger and two more months for him to be given the whole clear. I will be pray as i know what you going through. Good luck
Anonymous said…
our six month old shih tzu mimi was diagnosed with parvo today. they gave her an injection and an antiobiotic, pain killer and anti vomiting medicine. i have to force 10 cc of pedialyte into her mouth every hour. i paid 145 for everything including the visit and test. she is already more responsive and i hope she pulls through.
Anonymous said…
I have 3 Shitzu's. One 5 years old and 2 sisters that just turned 1 year old. My wife is an Animal control officer for over 20 years. She has seen everything. But this is bad what just happened to us. She took a 4 month old rottie to the vet for it's shots and to get it fixed. The dog was healthy and playful.There is a family waiting to adopt it as soon as they can. My wife took and picked the dog up from the vet. She brought it back to the shelter for the people to pick up the following day. That evening before she left she played with the dog and even had it giving paw "high five". The next morning she found the dog had vomited numerous times and had the poops real bad. She new immediatly what it was just by the smell. It was Parvo. She returned the dog back to the vet and they said the dog was vomiting before she picked it up. They never mentioned that fact to her and she never picked up on it returning the dog to the shelter after work. She saw the dog for 20 minutes that evening and seemed fine for just having surgery. That dog just survived a horrible week and is soon going to a loving home. The wife took every precaution when she came home that night including giving all our dogs boosters, but it was to late. She had already picked up the virus a day earlier and brought it to our home unknowingly. Today is day 7 since the first contact with the infected dog. We just got back from our vet and left the one sister there with a positive parvo test and a 105.5 fever. She refused dinner and everything else seemed fine until we took her temp. She now has a bad week ahead of her and we hope she makes it. The other 2 shitzu's so far show no signs. They are all spoiled brats and incredibly well cared for including all shots and boosters. We are in the process of tearing this house apart and cleaning everything while our other 2 dogs are quarantined to the garage for now. It will be amazing if they somehow skip this episode. But my point is, If the vet would have just opened her mouth and told my wife that the dog has vomiting. The wife would have questioned it and very well avoided what is happening in our home now. But that is hindsight. This is the first time she has seen parvo in 15 years. Unfortunatly, the shelter had numerous dogs at the moment and the boosters have been givin. They can only hope for the best. After reading all kinds of parvo posts etc, tomorrow morning I will be at the vet at 8 am with the Tamiflu idea in hand. I want to try it. anything to relieve the misery that poor dog has to go thru.
All because of a breakdown in communication. Unbelievable.
Lyka said…
Hi, just to share.. we have 3-month old shih tzu and he just had his first 5-in-1 shot and dewormer exactly a week from now-that was a Saturday morning. On Wednesday morning he won't take in any food nor drink water already. We thought it was just either that its something he ate since he wants to put in his mouth anything he sees on the floor or that his body was just adjusting to the drugs. On the same night he got worse so we took him to the vet and they admitted him in. They ran tests which results indicated Parvo infection. He also have very low WBC-only 3,000 where normal is around 6,000-17,000. The vet says he has currently improved since he was taken in because the vomiting and the diarrhea stopped with the help of meds. Our puppy is still in the hospital until now. Since Parvo is a virus, all they could do is give him antibiotics to prevent secondary infections and dextrose to prevent dehydration. We do hope he makes it.
Anonymous said…
My 2 year old shih tzu was diagnosed with parvo this evening at an emergency vet visit. The vet started an IV on him and he seems to be more alert than before, he even ate a little bit of food. I hope he gets better soon.
Annette said…
FOR PARVO USE PARVAID AND VIBACTRA PLUS ASAP!! (Long story short) My 4 month old Shih Tzu was infected with the Parvo Virus from his 5 in 1 immunization shot. I wasn't aware that he wasn't healthy when the shot was administered. By the next morning he was lethargic, vomiting (yellow foam, white foam and clear thick fluid), diarrhea (smelly, dark brown, mucus and blood) and he looked like his body had shrunk. I searched the internet and came across Parvaid and Vibactra a medicine used for Parvo. I found it in a local pet feed store which I gave my sick puppy every hour as directed. In about 3 days my puppy was on his way to recovery. Google the recipe for Parvo Emergency Tea and Oatmeal Water which you can give him with a medicine dropper or syringe and/or enema asap before he dehydrates and worsens.
Anonymous said…
my 3 moth old shihtzu was diagnosed w/ parvo today. 2 days ago i noticed her being weak and because i'm heading for work, i informed my mom to bring her in the nearest vet for a check-up. she was brought to her clinic twice but i wasn't convinced w/ her treatment so i decided to look for another clinic w/c is PSPCA and my parents were informed that our puppy was infected w/ parvo and began the fluid administration. the breeder sell it to me w/ incomplete vaccine. haist. i hope she pulls through.
Brandi said…
My shitzu is also in the animal hospital now with parvo. She's been there since Thursday morning and is on an IV with morphine and phenergen. They say she's doing well but only time will tell. I also bought my puppy and was under the impression that she had her shots but I was wrong. I'm just hoping and praying that she pulls through this and I have her back with me very soon. I am also praying for all of your dogs to make it through this. It's very hard to not know what's going on. Good luck to everyone.
Anonymous said…
When your little girl got parvo how didbu manage to spend so little when everyone says its so expensive? I am asking because i am a shih tzu owner. A wonderful, sweet, loving 8month old male, and yesterday he started randomly throwing up and did so about 3 times and today has threw up a good 5 times..he doesn't really seem like he is really sick though, he plays, but at times I have noticed he has layed down a lot more than normal! He has been eating, and drinking some.. but licking his lips a lot and bit makes a noise as if his mouth is dry. The only thing that has me worried the most is he is 8 months and I have saw him throw up maybe two times.. well in the past two days it has been between 8-10!! I am very concerned about this.. could I get our personal opinion??? I don't have the money to take him to the vet.. but if I could for this price I WOULD FIND THE MONEY!!! he is my absolute best friend! I would die if something we're to happen to him!!!!!!!! Please reply! Please help! Thank u very much!!
mikaela12 said…
My shih tzu puppy, oreo is only 2 months old. I got him from the breeder (Skyline Kennel) in Caloocan for only 5 days (not even a week). He vomitted earlier with his food and his poop is not hard but not watery and there is blood. I immediately brought oreo to the vet. He was tested and was diagnosed with Parvo. I am so worried. It is my first time to have a dog with parvo and it is only 2 months. Its only a baby. I did not noticed that he is not feeling well because he is very active, energetic, lively and eats a lot. I am hoping that he will be well. God bless him and all the puppies with parvo. May they be well and fight that virus and have a long life.
Unknown said…
My mia was born Jan 11th and had no vaccination when we bring her home at 12 weeks old she wad great for a week thats when she started vomiting so i took her to the er $98they tested her for parvo $40and she showed negative said she might needed xrays $215 if she continued this way gave her a shot for nausea $20 and sent us home two days later shes ok in the morming and by nine am she is throwing up after 2pn I called my husband and took her bak to vet $98they tested mia for parvo again $40 this time positive now i had to choos take her home and loose her or admite her for treatment $750thats half down 4days later and another $300 she was ready to come home its been 2weeks she been great day till today i home she just ate something her tummy didnt like im not shure how she got it but its been a emmotional ride for me we had another shih tzu who was 2 years and old my niner he was fine never got sick but unfortunately I lost him recently so my mia is even more spoiled and all I have left hope she isn't sick again she has been really lazy I wish anyone luck who how's threw this its no joke protect ur babies parvo is not something to ignore act fast please pray for my mia thanks
fij said…
My 11 month old Shih tzu - Puffy, succumbed to Parvo virus today. I am sad, very sad. Puffy was my first canine friend. Dehydration and secondary infections are the main causes of death. Beware, this is a highly contagious virus.
BabyTRey said…
Trey is 4 months now.. he's done with his last deworming and 1 shots of 5 in 1 vaccine. After 2 days of vaccination.. on the middle of the night he's starting to vommit white foam and poop like a liquid..
I observed him the whole night and in the morning i bring him to his vet. And they took some test after that they told me that he has a parvo virus.. i dont know what to do..idont know where did trey gets that virus because no one has a virus on our home.he confine for 2 days they put dextros for giving fluids and to make the story short. HE Died today.. and i will surely not to come back to his hospital.. because i think he gets that virus from That place.

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