Parvovirus, or parvo, is a highly contagious virus. With immediate treatment, the survival rate is 80%; without treatment, it's 50%. The treatment for parvo is not to cure the virus, but to cure the symptoms—diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and secondary infections. Dogs who survive may suffer the effects of the disease for the rest of their lives; prevention in the form of vaccination is better than any treatment.
Infected puppies should be isolated so they can rest and recuperate. (This also gives you time to disinfect carpet, hard floors, dog toys and furniture.) Depending on the severity of the illness, many vets will want to hospitalize dogs with parvo. Hospitalization will ensure that your dog receives proper care and treatment for his symptoms. Intravenous fluids may be needed to reverse dehydration, and medications may be necessary to help control vomiting, diarrhea and infection. In extremely severe cases, your dog may even need to have a blood plasma transfusion.
Your dog may be given anti-nausea medication to stop vomiting. Antibiotics may be prescribed to ward off secondary infections. Antiviral medications are commonly prescribed as well, to help stop the virus from reproducing. Anti-inflamatory medications can be prescribed to reduce the chances of septic shock.
- Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook; Debra M. Eldredge DVM, et al.
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