As summer comes to a close our September pet of the month refused to go out without a fight. ‘Ozzy’, a 5-month-old German Shepard puppy, presented to us with vomiting. The owner initially thought that ‘Ozzy’ may have eaten a piece of a plastic frisbee that she found in the yard. Based on this history Dr. Grosser ordered a series of radiographs which showed no foreign material but a very gassy and distended intestinal tract. After the radiographs failed to give us any conclusive answers, Dr. Grosser had us perform a parvo test which came back positive.
Parvo virus is a highly infectious virus that affects mostly young dogs or geriatric patients with compromised immune systems. It is transmitted when a dog comes into contact with infected feces, soil or even people who have been around parvo positive dogs. While this virus doesn’t affect people, we are carriers of it and can pose a threat to unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated puppies. There is no cure for Parvo but making sure that puppies complete their DHPP vaccine series is the easiest way to prevent them from contracting the virus.
‘Ozzy’ had been coming to us for his puppy visits and was almost done with his series when he contracted the virus. After his parvo test came back positive, we admitted him to the hospital for I.V. fluids, antibiotics, anti-nausea/vomiting medications, and antacids. Admitting parvo patients to the hospital is the best way to treat the virus because it attacks the patients G.I. tract. The primary side effects of parvo are vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence and lethargy. Keeping the patient hydrated is our main goal when treating this virus because that’s what has the most detrimental affect on their bodies. Since most patients aren’t eating well if at all and can’t keep anything down, getting fluids into them through non oral routes is incredibly important.
We sent ‘Ozzy’ home that evening with oral medications for the owner to start to keep up the progress that was made during hospitalization that day. The hospital was closed the next day but on Friday we called to check in and the owners reported that he was still symptomatic but was acting more alert. ‘Ozzy’ kept gradually improving over the next few days and is now a parvo survivor! While it is unfortunate that he had to deal with this terrible virus he will have immunity to it for the rest of his life now and the fact that he had almost a complete series of DHPP vaccines helped him overcome the virus in a very timely manner. He is still at home with his family and enjoying the good life!