How to Prevent, Recognize, and Get Treatment for Parvo
A surprising number of Shihpoo families turn to Facebook groups and other social media platforms for help because their young puppy has contracted the parvovirus. Who wouldn’t feel desperate to see their beautiful Shihpoo acting lethargic, vomiting, and having bloody diarrhea?
What can be done for a Shihpoo with Parvovirus?
Treatment and medications for Shihpoos with Parvovirus cannot cure the dog of the virus. Instead, they provide support for the dog’s general strength in the hope its own immune system will overcome the virus. With an early and aggressive response, survival rates approach 90%.
Not only should you value an ounce of prevention more than a pound of cure, but you should also accept the sacrifice you make during your Shihpoo’s first two months at home while he or she gets through the most dangerous time to his immune system.
You have the cutest puppy on earthy, and you can’t show him or her off to your family, friends, or neighbors. Remember, though, this time is not about you and what you are missing out on. It’s about your beautiful, sweet, young Shihpoo that needs your protection now more than any other time in his or her life.
Age When Shihpoos Are Susceptible
Although Shihpoos are most susceptible to the Parvovirus shortly after most join their new families at eight weeks until about four months, Shihpoos not properly vaccinated may contract Parvovirus anytime throughout their life, even as adults.
Breeders often, but don’t always, advise new Shihpoo families to keep their young puppies away from public spaces. In reality, you should keep your puppy off of any surface, natural or manmade, where other dogs have been and that has not been cleaned or disinfected… ever. This means public parks, public sidewalks, neighborhood parks, and neighborhood sidewalks. This means the grassy field at your local school, and it definitely means the city’s dog park.
Worse still, this direction can create extreme hardship Shihpoo families who live in a home where other dogs have lived previously. Even allowing your young Shihpoo out on the grass in your back yard could present a danger if the previous canine occupant had the parvovirus.
Most difficult of all are Shihpoo homes where there is another dog in the home. If the older dog received his her or his Parvovirus vaccines as a young puppy and has continued to get the Parvovirus booster shots every three years, the newest puppy in the home should be safe. Otherwise, you might consider keeping your new Shihpoo quarantined from the other dog(s) until after the 16-week vaccine.
How Does the Parvovirus Spread
The Parvovirus is among the most easily-transmitted diseases for dogs. Your Shihpoo may contract Parvovirus in two ways. First, your puppy can get the virus from direct contact with an infect dog (usually by saying hello… sniffing the other dog’s rear quarters).
Indirectly, if an infected dog poops in an area where you Shihpoo is active, your puppy can get the virus because so much of it lives in dog poop for up to a year or so.
Tracking into the house the poop of an infected dog means even your homebound Shihpoo is now at higher risk. Ensure you and any children in your home keep your shoes clean before entering the home.
Other objects you bring into the home that your Shihpoo may play will should be keps clean, swashed, and disinfected. This includes toys and chews.
Finally, Parvo can spread easily and quickly among dogs in a kennel setting, particularly shelters, where many of the puppies have not received their vaccinations as recommended.
The most common symptoms of the Parvovirus in dogs include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), and loss of appetite. While weight loss can also indicate a Parvo infection, Shihpoos at this age can be so small already, you might have a difficult time notifying weight-loss. Pay attention to fevers, another common Parvovirus symptom.
Some Shihpoo families describe their Parvo-infected puppy as experiencing depression. Weakness in your Shihpoo may also help to alert you to your puppy’s potential bout with Parvo.
To diagnose the Parvovirus in your Shihpoo, the veterinarian will need to do blood work, combined with observation of your puppy’s symptoms. If you suspect Parvo, get your puppy to a veterinarian’s office immediately. Do not wait a single day.
When you contact the veterinarian, do not hold back with your concern. Explain that you have noticed two or three symptoms (or more) that are consistent with the Parvovirus and that you need to bring your Shihpoo in for blood work immediately. If you meet any resistence at all, call another veterinarian’s office and get your puppy in the same day. Urgency cannot be overemphasized.
Shihpoos who contract the Parvovirus have a good chance (in the 90% range) of surviving if the family catches the illness early and pursues aggressive treatments. Unfortunately, families that daily to act within two to three days may find they waited too long. The Parvovirus can lead to such dehydration so quickly that the Shihpoo may die with 48 to 72 hours after first exhibiting Parvovirus symptoms.
A veterinarian’s response to Parvovirus will typically include providing the Shihpoo plenty of liquids (known as fluid therapy) and antibiotics.
The antibiotics do not kill the Parvovirus (antibiotics, after all, attack bacterium, not viruses). However, the antibiotics protect the Shihpoo from common secondary infections that occur simultaneously with the Parvovirus since the virus attacks the bone marrow’s immune-building blood cells.
The Parvovirus vaccine is actually a series of vaccines. Responsible breeders give your Shihpoo baby his or her first vaccine (including the Parvo vaccine) at six weeks of age. You then take your puppy to the veterinarian at 12 weeks of age (just under three months), and again at 16 weeks of age (about three and a half months) for the follow-up Parvovirus vaccine.
Thereafter, plan to take your Shihpoo star to the veterinarian every three years to a booster to ensure your puppy’s resistence stays strong.
Even proprierly vaccinated can contrafct the Parvovirus, although their chances are much, much lower. Still, do not take or alow your Shihpoo, vaccinated or not, to visit or play with any dog who has had the Parvovirus within the past two months.
How Your Shihpoo Will React to the Parvo Vaccine
Because the Parvo vaccine is just one of several vaccines given in a “vaccinee cocktail,” reactions to the specific Parvo vaccine are difficult to gage. However, uncommon side effects of vaccines in dogs include fever, sluggishment, loss of appetite, swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, pain around the vaccine area, and shortness of breath.
If your Shihpoo experiences or displays any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately and get ready to take her or him to see the doctor.
How to Care for Your Shihpoo after Parvo
Your Shihpoo who has contracted and recovered from the Parvovirus will continue to have the live virus in her or his feces for up to two months. Keep your Shihpoo away from other dogs, as well as from areas frequented by other dogs.
Your Shihpoo will also gave a weakened immune system, meaning he or she should not play with or spend time with other dogs who are sick.
Finally, clean and disinfect your household and your Shihpoos toys and bedding. Bleach is one of the few cleaners proven to kill the Parvovirus. Use it on your Shihpoo’s toys and chews (be sure to wash before giving back to your puppy), in your puppy’s kennel, and on non-porous surfaces your puppy plans or live on.
How long does the parvovirus incubation period last?
Typically, the parvovirus takes anywhere from three days to a week and a half from first Parvovirus exposure to cause noticeable symptoms in your Shihpoo. However, a period of just three to four days is most common.
How long does the Parvovirus last in Shihpoos?
Once symptoms of Parvovirus appear (typically vomitting or diarrhea), the disease will usually run its course, for better or for worse, wihin about three days.