Has your dog recently been diagnosed with parvo? You may also be noticing that your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea. These are both common signs that your dog may have parvo.
If your puppy does have parvo, it would be best for them to see your vet for medication. Severe cases may need to stay in the vet hospital for treatments.
While this can be a life-threatening condition, many do survive with the appropriate treatment and care.
How the Parvo Virus Impacts Puppies
Parvo is a gastrointestinal virus seen in unvaccinated puppies. This is commonly seen in dogs who come from a shelter. The parvovirus attacks the lining of your puppy’s intestines, causing the intestines to die and slough.
The signs of parvo in puppies are several. Most puppies who have parvo will have the following signs:
- Bloody diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
If you notice any of these signs in your puppy, it would be best for your dog to see your vet right away. The sooner you start treating a dog for parvo, the better the outcome.
What Does Parvo Poop Look like?
Many dogs with parvo will have bloody diarrhea. The exact appearance of the poop will vary between each dog and the severity of parvo in your dog.
In the early stages, your puppy may not have any blood in their poop, but may just have a yellowish-brown colored poop.
As parvo progresses, your puppy's stools may have a dark red or a bright red color. The dark red color is digested blood and means that the blood is coming from higher in the intestines, whereas, the bright red blood is blood that is undigested and is coming from lower in the intestinal tract, such as from the colon.
What Does Parvo Poop Smell Like?
Parvo poop has a very strong, distinct odor. This poop will contain the dead lining of the intestines mixed with blood which is why a puppy with parvo has very bad smelling poop.
Since the parvovirus causes damage to the intestines, your puppy also cannot properly absorb nutrients from their food. This food will also pass out half-digested also adding to the very horrible smelling poop.
Many people think that parvo poop smells like raw rotting meat. This is due to the blood and dead intestinal lining that is passing out in your puppy’s poop. This is one smell that is very easy to detect once you have smelled it.
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Diagnosis of Parvo in Puppies
Parvo can quickly be readily diagnosed in puppies with an easy test at your vet. They will take a small swab from your dog’s rectum and run a test to see if your dog has parvo.
Your vet will get results usually within 10 minutes, sometimes even sooner if they are very sick. Many times, your vet can give you a good guess if they think that your dog has parvo or not just from their exam and the smell of their diarrhea.
Treatment of Parvo in Puppies
Depending on when you first notice signs and how severe your dog’s symptoms are, they may need to be hospitalized on IV fluids and injectable medications.
Your vet will keep them in the hospital, providing them with supportive care until they are able to eat on their own and no longer vomit. It can take a few days for them to get better.
Once they can go home, they may still need to take medication and given supportive care until they are back to normal. Mild cases of parvo can often recover at home with supportive care.
At-Home Treatment for Parvo
If your dog has parvo, there are a few things that you can do at home to help. Giving them food and water will help them stay hydrated.
Syringing your dog's water and food if they will not eat is the best. If they still may vomit and have diarrhea, your vet can give you medication to help with both their vomiting and diarrhea.
Your vet may also give you antibiotics to help prevent any secondary infection they may develop.
The Prognosis of Parvo In dogs
Usually, with early and aggressive treatment, many dogs will survive this disease. Some dogs are not so lucky and may die from parvovirus.
Parvovirus is a highly contagious disease seen in unvaccinated puppies. With the appropriate precautions and vaccinations, your puppy should not catch the parvovirus from other animals.
If your dog has parvo, there is a distinct look and smell to your dog’s poop. Parvo poop is usually very bloody and has a very strong rotten meat smell that is very distinguishable.
A young unvaccinated dog who is vomiting and having very smelly bloody diarrhea is suspected of having parvo. Your vet can quickly and easily test your dog for this disease.
The earlier you start treating your puppy, and the more aggressive you are with treating this disease, the better the outcome.