There have been many articles, blog post, and discussions about parvo in dogs. What else can be said right? What is Parvovirus?
Parvovirus is a virus that is life threatening and it rapidly attacks dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problems. Dogs can go into shock which can cause their organs to start shutting down.
This post is going to be about my personal experience with parvo. I had a dog, a family member Honey, that died with parvo on January 1st, 2012 at 2 am. What a way to start a new year right? My little girl was only 14 months old. Just a little over a year old. She had all of her shots and was healthy and happy one day and the next day she was very sick.
It started late Saturday night. She wouldn’t eat her treat after going outside to potty. I thought well she just didn’t want it, and then Sunday morning after going out she still didn’t want her treat. She went and layed on the couch and didn’t want to play. That was very unusual for her. She always, always ate her treat and then wanted everyone else’s too. She was always playing day and night. I knew something was wrong then. All day she wouldn’t eat or drink anything and she threw up a few times.
The veterinarians office is closed on Sundays, so on Monday morning I took her in. I thought maybe she had worms, which I didn’t see any sign of worms. The vet did a fecal test, and while on the table she had a black, runny bowl movement. Really fast he said “I want to do a parvo test.” Parvo I said. Why a Parvo test, she has had all of her shots, how could she have Parvo? He said he just wanted to be sure that it wasn’t Parvo, and that the results would be back in about 8 minutes.
He came back in about 10 minutes later, and let me tell you that those 10 minutes seemed like an hour. He said we have a problem. What I said? She has Parvo. I immediately started crying, I couldn’t help it. If you know anything at all about Parvo is that it is almost always a death sentence for a dog. The next 20 minutes seemed so unreal to me. He said she has a 50/50% chance of surviving. There is no cure for Parvo! All you can do is treat the symptoms. He gave her an antibiotic shot, a shot for vomiting and diarreah, and fluids. I cried all the way home. I could not believe it. I could’ve have left her there to be treated (they would’ve done the same as I would do at home), but I wanted her to be in her home with people that loved her.
I told myself that she was going to be one of the 50% that survived it. She was my baby how could she not survive. I took her home and wrapped her in a clean blanket and laid her on the bed and sat beside her the next 14 hours. I gave her fluids through a syringe, talked to her and let her know that she was going to be just fine. She would get up and walk around for a few minutes and come back and lay down. One of the things you have to do for you dog with Parvo is to keep them warm! That is very important.
I thought walking around was a good sign. She even tried to drink water out of her bowl, but then didn’t do it. I thought she was getting better, but that changed really quick. The last time she came and laid down she didn’t move again. It seemed that her body was just giving out. I petted her and noticed that her heart beat had slowed down dramatically. Her breathing had slowed down also. I knew that she was in so much pain. I knew at this time that she was dieing. I held her and told her what a good girl she was, and she was so strong and beautiful. Then I would tell her again what a good girl she was and how much I loved her.
Her eyes closed, and her breathing got slower. All of the sudden she opened her eyes and looked at me one last time. Then it seemed that she was gasping for breath. I didn’t know what to do besides talk to her and hold her. Then she gave this high pitched scream (that is the only word I can think of to describe it) and quit breathing. I lost it then, I really lost it. Up until that moment I still thought she was going to make it. I sat there for a couple hours holding her. Which to some may seem strange, but I couldn’t move and I didn’t want to let her go.
I wrapped her in a blanket and covered her head. The next day my husband dug a hole in the ground and we buried her. It was muddy and cold and all I kept thinking is she is going to get cold! Not a rational thought, huh? How could this happen? Just 2 days ago she was happy and healthy, or so I thought. This wasn’t right! She was supposed to live until she was 12 years or more!
It has been a little over a month and a half ago and it still seems unreal. I find my self calling for her when I call my other 2 babies, Beauty and Molly. We called her Honey Bunch of O’s. A nick name we gave her. I know that it is going to be a long time before it gets better. Honey brought us so much joy and love. She wasn’t just a dog. She was my baby, my friend and a family member.
I am sorry that this post is a little long, but my point in writing it is to let you know that Parvo is a VERY serious virus. Most dogs don’t survive it, but some do. If you ever notice Parvo symptoms in you dog or puppy, take them to the vet immediately. Do not hesitate. It maybe nothing, but it is better to be safe than very sorry later.
Symptoms Of Parvovirus:
-Loss of appetite
-Bloody, foul smelling diarrhea (which can lead to life threatening dehydration)
Parvo is highly contagious and is transmitted through feces (it is not airborne). Dogs can get Parvo just by walking in an area where a sick dog has pooped. Parvo can be brought into your home on your dogs feet, and on your shoes. I didn’t know this at first until my vet told me, but Parvo can live in carpet and on hard surfaces for months. It can live in grass for up to a year or so. The only thing known to kill the virus is bleach.
My other 2 dogs had been separated from Honey when we found out she had Parvo. When she died I started clean up immediately. My vet told me to mix 3 parts bleach with a gallon of water. I asked if that would kill the Parvovirus on my carpet, and they said yes but they didn’t want me to ruin my carpet. I didn’t care about the carpet! I cleaned every surface I could see with bleach. I let the mixture sit on my floors 30 minutes before mopping, and the same with the carpet. After spraying my carpet my husband steam cleaned it with bleach also. There was a slight discoloration and that was all. WARNING: Be sure to open your windows and doors before cleaning with bleach and to wear a mask also. The fumes from the bleach can make you very sick (my husband learned the hard way).
Yes, dogs that have had all of their vaccines can still get Parvo. It is unlikely if you dog is healthy and been properly vaccinated, but it does happen. The sooner you start treatment the better the chance that you pet will survive. Some dogs are not strong enough to beat Parvo. So the first few hours are critical. I keep telling myself I should’ve caught it sooner. That I didn’t protect her and keep her safe, that I didn’t and should’ve. It will make you crazy thinking those thoughts.