At Czar, we do our best to eliminate your puppy from being around Parvo from our clean kennel practices to healthy immunity in our female mothers before, during and after their pregnancy, and vaccinations before going to their new families. Every new family will be asked to wear booties before going in the nursery and be asked to wash their hands before holding their puppy. We will go over prevention of this nasty disease before taking your baby Frenchie home.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a nasty, highly contagious illness, spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with feces. That means that your dog can get CPV from either eating an infected dog’s poop or simply sniffing an infected dog’s hindquarters! It can be especially hard on puppies who haven’t yet been vaccinated because their immune systems haven’t yet fully developed.
CPV shows up in two forms: intestinal and, more rarely, cardiac. Symptoms of the intestinal form of CPV include:
- Extreme vomiting
- Severe diarrhea, often containing mucus or blood
- High fever or, sometimes, a low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Severe abdominal pain
Because the intestinal form of CPV results in fluid losses and because the affected intestines do not nutrients and proteins properly, he’ll weaken, lose weight and become dehydrated pretty quickly.
The cardiac form of CPV tends to attack very young puppies, causing cardiovascular and respiratory failure and, unfortunately, often leads to death.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Every minute counts when it comes to diagnosis! If your dog is exhibiting one or more of the symptoms listed above, seek emergency veterinary care as soon as possible.
CPV is an aggressive illness and dogs tend to deteriorate soon after becoming infected. If CPV is suspected, your veterinarian will first perform a physical exam and then follow up with other tests to figure out the cause of your pooch’s discomfort. Such tests include:
- A complete blood cell count (CBC) to rule out blood related conditions; a low white blood cell count is usually seen with CPV infection
- Chemistry tests to screen for kidney, liver, and pancreatic disease as well as to check sugar levels
- Fecal test to detect the presence of CPV and rule out intestinal parasites
- Abdominal imaging, through x-ray or ultrasound, to look for intestinal obstruction, enlarged lymph nodes, and excess fluids in the intestines
CPV’s pretty rough on dogs and pretty much always requires hospitalization for 24-hour care and monitoring. Left untreated, dogs with the virus are likely to die. However, since it’s a viral infection, there’s no cure for CPV. This means that your veterinarian will treat and support your dog and help them weather the infection. Fluids and calorie replacement such as maple syrup can be a good home treatment when the puppy is lethargic and lacking in appetite.
Treatment is aimed towards managing your dog’s dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, and includes:
- IV fluid therapy
- Nutritional therapy
- Medications to control vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea
- In severe cases, blood plasma transfusions.
- Pain medications
In addition, antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent bacterial infections, which can take advantage of your dog’s weakened state and often prove to be fatal. In general, dogs shouldn’t eat or drink until symptoms have subsided, and fluid support is usually needed for several days. Your veterinarian will discuss the best course of action to get your dog back to his normal, happy, healthy self as soon as possible.
CPV can be brutal on dogs, but survival rate is relatively optimistic, though it’s lower for puppies. Puppies with CPV will have a 20 percent chance if left untreated for more than two days, 50% to 90% if treated on the first onset of symptoms.
While recovering from CPV, your dog will have a weakened immune system for awhile and could be at risk for other illnesses. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can boost your dog’s immune system and keep him safe from illness. Options include:
- A healthy and balanced diet that is easily digestible
- Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated against other illnesses
Every dog and every case is different, so your veterinarian will help you formulate an effective management plan to get your furry friend back to strength.
For some time after recovery, your dog will remain contagious and should be kept away from other dogs. You’ll have to isolate your dog from other dogs, even and especially your others dogs in the home. And though recovery from CPV makes dogs mostly immune from getting the virus again, future immunity isn’t guaranteed, and vaccination is generally recommended.
Besides taking care of your dog, you’ll need to spend some time disinfecting your dog’s toys, crates, kennels, and toys. People can carry the virus on their hands and clothes so be sure to wash thoroughly after being around a sick dog. Remember, CPV can live in the environment for at least a year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, so make sure to speak with your veterinarian about vaccination and any lingering danger of infection in your house and yard.
The number one way to prevent CPV is vaccination. Puppies should be vaccinated starting at a young age, in our kennel we start at 6 weeks through 14 weeks of age and usually the vaccinations should be applied in a staggered manner as directed by your veterinarian after your puppy adoption. Again, for each dog it’s different. Your veterinarian will provide the best recommendations for keeping your dog safe from the parvo virus.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always call your veterinarian or reach out to your breeder you have adopted your French Bulldog puppy from. Your vet is your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.