How to Feed a Dog Parvovirus (with Pictures)

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How to Feed a Dog Parvovirus (with Pictures)
How to Feed a Dog Parvovirus (with Pictures)

Parvovirus comes in two forms: intestinal and cardiac. It is a viral infection and quite difficult to treat; in fact, it's just the symptoms, not the disease itself. Hospitalizing the dog is usually the best option, especially in the case of intestinal variation of the infection, as professionals will know how to treat the dog correctly and administer the necessary fluids and medications. If you cannot afford hospitalization, treat the pet at home, providing subcutaneous and oral fluids, following certain protocols and medicating it when necessary.


Part 1 of 4: Administering fluid subcutaneously

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 1

Step 1. Find a veterinarian

Parvovirus is usually fatal without proper treatment, in addition to being a very infectious disease. If the veterinarian recommends giving intravenous fluids, take their advice as this can mean the difference between life and death for the dog. Animals with parvo produce large volumes of bloody diarrhea, and it is not always possible to keep them hydrated and healthy. In addition, if you have more than one animal at home, treating the infected at home can be quite complicated, as there is a risk of transmitting the virus to other animals. Veterinary clinics typically have isolated facilities and protocols to prevent infections.

  • If the dog is admitted, professionals will likely administer fluids to rehydrate the dog and treat symptoms of illness. In addition, the veterinarian will continue to analyze the pet's electrolyte and protein levels, treating as needed. Isolation will be done with all the necessary care, preventing it from infecting other animals.
  • Parvo is a viral infection that spreads easily and is difficult to treat, being more frequent in puppies up to six months of age. The gastrointestinal version affects the animal's digestive tract, causing dehydration and malnutrition. The other type affects the heart and should never be treated at home.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 2

Step 2. Administer subcutaneous fluids

The ideal would be to treat the animal with intravenous fluids, directly into the vein, but this type of application usually cannot be done at home. The dog needs treatment for dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting, and it may be difficult to get him to eat or drink by mouth. Subcutaneous fluids help with dehydration, but are not ideal for animals with severe cases, as their circulation is usually not as good.

  • You will probably be able to purchase fluids directly from your veterinarian.
  • The professional can also indicate the best types and quantities needed.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 3

Step 3. Choose the correct syringe

You will probably need a 20G syringe, but make the necessary adjustments for your dog (22G for smaller breeds and 18G for larger breeds). Ask the veterinarian's recommendation and buy different needles to extract the fluids; so you don't inject them with the same needle you used on the dog. Remember to always use a sterile needle for each injection.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 4

Step 4. Prepare the fluid bag and syringe

The product, usually sodium lactate solution, comes in a plastic bag inside a larger pouch. Sterilize the injection outlet with a cotton swab moistened with antiseptic and remove the cap. Insert the injection into the outlet and pull the plunger. The amount of fluid needed depends on the animal's situation and the veterinarian's recommendation.

  • Discard the needle when finished. Do not use it again to collect more fluids.
  • Talk to your veterinarian to find out if it's a good idea to continue using the open bag or if it's better to discard it.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 5

Step 5. Administer the fluids according to the animal's weight

The first thing to do is to weigh the dog to know how much to give. For example, puppies weighing 2.5 kg or less need 50 to 75 cm³ every 12 hours; as the little one needs fluids throughout the day, divide the recommended amount into a few separate injections. Talk to your veterinarian to find out the recommended amount per day; usually, it is necessary to administer the liquid once every hour.

  • Puppies weighing around 5 kg need 100 to 150 cm³ every 12 hours, whereas dogs weighing around 10 kg need 150 to 300 cm³ and those weighing around 20 kg need 200 to 400 cm³.
  • For animals weighing 25 kg, administer 300 to 500 cm³ every 12 hours.
  • Keep in mind that these numbers are estimates only, as the animal that loses fluid may need a little more. Be aware, however, that administering large amounts of liquid under the animal's skin can cause serious damage over time. If possible, have a veterinarian give you intravenous administration.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 6

Step 6. Give the injection

Calm the animal by petting and talking to it. Lay it down and, if possible, have someone hold it so it doesn't run away. Lift the loose skin on his back and insert her needle; never insert the needle into the animal's muscle tissue.

  • It is possible to administer the fluids to any part of the animal's back, as long as there is enough loose skin. Firmly press the plunger to release the liquid.
  • The fluids will form a lump under the dog's skin, but will be absorbed into the bloodstream, as long as the dog is not in shock and has a good circulatory system.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 7

Step 7. Remove the needle

At the same time, use your fingers to massage the area around the hole to prevent fluid from escaping.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 8

Step 8. Observe the animal and see if fluids are being absorbed

If you overdo the amount, they will clump under the skin, causing swelling on the sides of the chest and feet. If this occurs, keep an eye on the animal until you notice the accumulation disappear and restart the administration of liquids; this time, manage less.

Part 2 of 4: Medication the Animal

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 9

Step 1. Control vomiting

Since you can only treat the symptoms of parvovirus, your veterinarian will likely prescribe some medication to slow down vomiting; this is the first step to keep the animal more comfortable. In some cases, it is also necessary to administer medication for diarrhea.

  • Hold the dog against your body or a wall, restraining him with one arm.
  • Fill the syringe with the amount recommended by the professional or the package insert and insert it between the dog's cheek and teeth.
  • Depress the plunger slowly, releasing the medicine into the animal's mouth.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 10

Step 2. Give the antibiotics

While not eliminating the disease, these medications can prevent other infections and should be prescribed by a veterinarian. Always follow the instructions from the professional and the package insert, and administer according to the previous step.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 11

Step 3. Ease the pet's pain

If the case of parvovirus is severe, the veterinarian may also prescribe pain relievers and pain medications. The administration is the same as above.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 12

Step 4. Try a different protocol

A recent study found that a drug regimen significantly increases an animal's chances of survival. The first part of treatment includes taking a drug for severe nausea, Maropitant, once a day. The other part includes administering a single, strong dose of antibiotic as soon as the animal is diagnosed. Finish with subcutaneous fluid three times a day. Talk to a veterinarian before trying this treatment.

Part 3 of 4: Administering Oral Fluids

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 13

Step 1. Give the dog oral fluids

Subcutaneous administrations are only done while trying to reduce the dog's vomiting. Once you manage to keep fluid loss under control, you can keep your pet hydrated with an electrolyte fluid such as Pedialyte.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 14

Step 2. Use a syringe with a catheter tip

The larger, stronger tip will make it easier to administer fluids as you don't need to use a needle in this case.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 15

Step 3. Fill the syringe with fluid

Place her tip into the bottle and pull the plunger to the recommended mark. You should administer 2 to 4 cm³ per hour for every 0.5 kg of the dog's body weight.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 16

Step 4. Contain the bug

It is possible that the dog is weak from the disease, but it is still a good idea to contain him or have someone hold him while you administer the oral fluids.

  • Press the animal's body against yours so it doesn't struggle too much.
  • Hold it with one arm while administering fluids with the opposite hand.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 17

Step 5. Place the syringe in the dog's mouth

Start by inserting a finger into the animal's mouth, between the cheek and teeth. Lightly press the syringe and press the plunger to release the liquid; you don't need to open the dog's jaw, as the fluids will pass between the dog's teeth.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 18

Step 6. No tilt the dog's head back. It's tempting to lift his head to make swallowing easier, but the animal might end up inhaling the liquid, which is not a good idea.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 19

Step 7. Keep an eye on vomiting

Observe the dog after administering the fluids and, if he vomits, wait a while before repeating the treatment.

Part 4 of 4: Following Protocols

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 20

Step 1. Isolate the dog

Parvovirus is very contagious, which makes it a very difficult disease. The dog can remain contagious for up to two months, so isolate him from the other dogs in the house and keep him away from public spaces in the meantime. Even vaccinated animals can be contaminated, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

  • Parvo is usually transmitted through feces and fluids. The virus can also be acquired when one dog sniffs another.
  • If you have other animals at home, make the infected stay away from them and relieve themselves in a different location. It is possible for dogs to acquire the virus through the recovered dog's feces, even if it has been two months since the end of symptoms.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 21

Step 2. Check the dog's temperature using a rectal thermometer

Normally, the temperature of puppies varies between 38, 3 ° and 39, 1 °C.

  • Lubricate the thermometer tip with petroleum jelly or baby oil. Then insert it into the pet's anus, very slowly and carefully. Ideally, insert about 2.5 cm from the thermometer. The temperature will likely be indicated in a minute or less.
  • If the animal has low temperatures, warm the fluids slightly before administering them or use a heated mat. Obviously, protect the dog's fur when using the mat, as he can get burned. Cover the surface with a blanket or thick towel.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 22

Step 3. Feed soft foods

As soon as the animal stops vomiting and regains interest in the food, start administering cooked ground beef with rice (remember not to use oil and remove fat) or cottage cheese. Yogurt is also an excellent choice. Talk to the veterinarian and ask for some suggestions, leaving the ration for later.

Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 23

Step 4. Disinfect your home

Mix 30 parts of water with 1 part of bleach to sanitize the surfaces of places that have had contact with the animal and kill the virus.

  • For soft surfaces such as carpets and sofas, perform a professional steam cleaning for complete sanitization. It's a good idea to also use quaternary ammonia, a disinfectant.
  • For outdoor areas, the best option is to collect dog droppings and wash the yard frequently. Dilution and sunlight are able to reduce the amount of virus in the area over time.
Nurse a Dog Through Parvo Step 24

Step 5. Bathe the dog

Once the symptoms disappear, clean the animal with an antibacterial shampoo. Repeat after a week.

  • Let the shampoo sit for five minutes before rinsing it off.
  • Keep the dog warm by bathing him in warm water and drying him with heated towels.


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