How to help your dog in the early stages of parvo

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We recently lost a dear dog to parvo…she was only 6 months old and I loved her dearly.  Her name was Mishka.  She had all the signs of parvo but I was not familiar enough with the symptoms to catch it in time to help her.  She has a sister, named Daisy… a day or two later, Daisy began showing the same symptoms.

With parvo, it is IMPERATIVE that at the very very first little bitty sign of ANYTHING not exactly right, or just a little off, with your dog… you must act immediately.  Of course the ideal thing is to take your dog to the vet right away.  At the first sign of them seeming “depressed” or lethargic… not interested in their food or treats… something is wrong.  If you wait  until they don’t eat, and begin vomiting, then you are in a race against time… and it happens very, very quickly.

The symptoms and stages are: 

1) listlessness, depression, just not seeming to be themselves

2) not eating

3) not drinking… vomiting everything back up

4) bloody diarrhea

parvo attacks their insides, making them bleed, sometimes even their heart.  You may notice a foul odor… from what I have read, this is what causes that odor.  They can literally drown.

If, for some reason, you are unable to get to a vet… let me share with you what we did for Daisy… and it saved her life.  We have one grave, with our dear pup Mishka, instead of two.  I read this online and wasted no time in trying it… and it worked.  I believe it only worked because I already knew what to look for and just as soon as I saw Daisy showing the same signs, I IMMEDIATELY implemented this.  Otherwise it would not have worked, if we had waited a day, maybe even hours, longer.  We had been watching her closely for signs, just in case, and we caught it within the first 24 hours.  Also, Daisy is a big dog… she is a mix of pyrenees and australian shepherd, with a few other things… so she is quite large.  At six months she has surpassed her mother!  I don’t know if a big dog stands a better chance of surviving?  This may or may not be a factor.  I only know that parvo can take down any dog and you must act quickly.  Again I stress… take your pet to the vet if you at all can.  The sooner the better, at the first signs of anything being wrong.

With that said…. this is what we did that saved our puppy.  I did a lot of research online to try and find what we could do to help her right away… and from what I gleaned off a few websites…. this popped up over and over so I felt we were on the right track.  We used Pepto Bismol… Pedialyte… and a turkey baster syringe.  Amazing that these three items saved her life!!  I also mixed up some beef broth to give her, so she would get some nutrition during the time she wouldn’t eat.

With the first note of listlessness and disinterest in her food…. we gave her one tblsp of Pepto Bismul with the turkey baster.  I held her while my sweetheart of a husband helped me…. he shot the pepto down her with the baster while I held her still and her mouth up.  This is to prevent the dog from throwing up, having diarrhea, and losing precious fluid and electrolytes.  Next we poured some pedialyte into a bowl, and since she would not drink on her own, we used the baster/syringe (we used the same kind that comes with the injectable marinade, and took the needle thingy off, just using the other part to pull up the liquid and shoot it down her) and we gave her half a small bottle (it came in a pack of four) of that.  There were a couple of times that she burped, about 20 minutes later, and sounded like she would throw up… but thanks to the pepto she didn’t.

We waited a couple hours and repeated the process.  A couple hours later, we did it again, but this time I mixed up a little beef broth for her, and we administered that to her as well.  By now it was getting late and she was in the house with us, so we just let her sleep on the couch, her favorite place :) bless her heart.   I got up several times to check on her during the night… she was sleeping well and peacefully so I waited until morning to give her anymore.

Imagine my surprise when morning came… she seemed better… interested in her water and sniffing for food!  She went and drank some water, on her own, which she had stopped doing the day before.  We were thrilled!!  We were going to give her a little more pedialyte but she seemed hungry.  We tested the waters and took out a tiny piece of bologna to see what her reaction would be.  She gobbled it up!!  We were so happy!!

We let her outside… she ran, played with her mom, and “gallumphed” all over the yard!! A few hours later she was chasing squirrels and (yuck) caught one.  So we figured, if she was up to some squirrel… a little bologna definitely would not hurt her!!

We watched her all day for any signs of the disease… she played… drank water…ate bologna and well, anything else that we would put in front of her, lol… she was back to herself.  We continued to watch her closely over the next few days and I was just amazed at how quickly she bounced back.  I just wish I had realized in time what was wrong with Mishka so I could have saved her too… but her spirit lives on in her sister.  She will never be forgotten. 

As I said… the vet is always best.  But there are instances sometimes when people can’t get to a vet, or just don’t have the money, or even transportation… and that is why I am sharing this success story with you… so that in that event, a dog doesn’t have to die for lack of resources.  Always watch your beloved pets closely… and when you notice a change in them, act immedately.  They are not like people.  People can be depressed, not feel like eating, etc., but its not always a serious thing… usually it isn’t.  We get headaches… we have bad days… colds… etc… we usually snap out of it.  Dogs are different… if they are not eating.. laying around… not outside chasing the cat… then something is very very wrong and you must act quickly.  Don’t wait to see what else they do or don’t do, because chances are if it is a big enough deal that they don’t want to eat… then it is pretty serious.

I will post some pictures here soon of our beloved Daisy.  She’s currently outside digging holes and chasing squirrels. :)  Every time I look at her… I am thankful she is still here… and amazed.

Here are pictures of our sweet Daisy girl :) 

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