How to Treat Parvo in Dogs
If your dog or puppies are showing symptoms of Parvovirus, and you are looking for a Parvo home treatment, you have landed on the right page. So, how to get rid of Parvo? Before we get to the treatment, let’s understand what is parvovirus all about.
What is Parvo?
Canine Parvovirus 1 and 2 (CPV-1 & CPV-2), commonly known as Parvo, is a virus that emerged in 1978 and has affected a lot of puppies and dogs in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Americas and Europe since then. The mortality rate in affected pups is 91%, and adult dogs, it is 10% (1).
There are two forms of this virus. The more common one is the intestinal form known as Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis. Its symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and lack of appetite (anorexia.) The other form is the cardiac form known as Myocarditis, which affects young puppies aging 6 weeks to 6 months. This form attacks the heart muscles of puppies and often leads to death due to suffocation (2).
How to Prevent Parvo in Puppies and Dogs?
If you’re worried about your dog now, you must be thinking what you can do to prevent your dog from this catastrophic virus, or if you want to know that your dog is suffering from Parvo or not. You will find all the information you need from this article, and we will tell you how to treat your dog at home if it is suffering from Canine Parvo.
The first and the most important step that you need to take is vaccination. Your dog needs the vaccination for Parvovirus because when it is in the danger age (6 weeks to 6 months old,) there is a very high chance of catching this virus from other infected dogs. The dogs that are not vaccinated, especially the street dogs, have a very high chance of infection which may be transferred to your dog if you don’t get it vaccinated. It is also important to complete all the rounds of vaccination for maximum protection. The second most important thing is to keep your dog, and its surroundings clean all the time, especially if it’s a young pup, as we have seen that young pups are susceptible to this virus the most. Commercial household cleaners are not capable enough to get rid of Parvovirus, so clean the surroundings with one part bleach and 30 parts water solution. Make sure you keep the area in contact with this solution for 30 minutes before wiping it off.
Now, after vaccination, there is still a little chance of your dog catching the virus, but don’t worry, we have prepared a list of the most effective home remedies for Parvo in puppies and dogs, that will save you a lot of cost as compared to inpatient care and help you treat Parvo at home.
What are the Symptoms or Signs of Parvo?
- Lethargy: If you see that your dog, especially your pup, has suddenly started lazing around and not being active like before or if you have to push your dog for the day to day tasks, it’s time to be alert and follow your dog’s routine more closely (3).
- Depression: Depression in dogs can be very similar to humans. If your dog doesn’t want to play, doesn’t wag its tail or doesn’t respond to patting, you must keep a check on your dog and look for further symptoms (4).
- Loss of Appetite: If your dog doesn’t eat the food that you usually serve it or if it completely refuses to eat food, and if this is drastically causing weight loss in your dog, then your dog has something to say (5).
If you experience all the above symptoms in your dog, then there is a high chance of Parvo, and you must go on to check for further symptoms in the next stage.
- High Fever: Fever in dogs is as common as it is in humans, but consistent high fever, followed by stage 1 symptoms is a concern for you (6).
- Vomiting: It is said that dogs suffer a lot of same diseases as humans, and vomiting is one of them. There is a high chance that vomiting is only caused because of upset stomach, but you must not take any chances (7).
- Diarrhea: Dogs can suffer from diarrhea in old age, but even puppies have shown diarrhea signs, and most of the times it is because of Parvovirus. Bloody diarrhea is a high alert alarm to get your dog diagnosed with Parvo (8).
If your dog is experiencing symptoms from both the stages, then you must immediately take it to the vet and get it diagnosed. Once and if the vet has diagnosed your dog with Parvo, you have 2 options for Parvo treatment. You can either avail inpatient care which will cost you no less than $1500 or you can treat Parvo at home.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is recommended to get your dog treated in an Animal Hospital, but if it is not possible for you, you can use these home remedies to treat a dog with Parvo at home.
Home Remedies for Parvo Treatment:
Water is the most basic and a very effective home remedy to get rid of Parvo. Keep your canine friends hydrated by feeding them fluids at regular intervals and maintain a warm environment to ease the absorption of fluids. Keep checking the dog’s rectal temperature which should be > 99ºF and maintain the room’s temperature according to that (9). Balanced electrolyte solution like ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) or Pedialyte can also be used to maintain hydration and restore electrolytes in the body. Adding glucose to water or feeding Gatorade is suggested after initial hydration process to provide energy to the dog before moving on to the feeding. After 8-9 hours of keeping the dog hydrated, you will notice more energy in it, and it will prefer sitting up rather than lying down.
2) Pepto Bismol
This is no new name as we have all had or at least heard of Pepto Bismol when talking about an upset stomach, diarrhea, heartburn, gas and bloating, etc. It is recommended by veterinarians to feed your dog Pepto Bismol in the liquid form to strengthen the digestive system and relieve the symptoms of diarrhea and other stomach related ailments caused due to Parvovirus (10). Bismuth Subsalicylate is the ingredient in Pepto Bismol that helps the stomach. The Salicylic Acid has anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as an antacid and mild antibiotic (11).
The recommended dosage is a tablespoon (15ml) 4-6 times in a day according to the severeness of diarrhea. After a couple of doses, you will notice your dog’s behavior change, and it will look relieved.
You can buy this medicine from any drug store that has basic medicines for dogs. Maropitant works to prevent vomiting and motion sickness in dogs so you can use it to cure Parvo at home (12).
Maropitant is a neurokinin-1 inhibitor that acts to prevent and treat vomiting by blocking stimuli to the final common pathway in the emetic center of the brain. A study found out that 10 out of 17 dogs vomited in a car journey when they weren’t given any medication, but only 3 of them vomited when given Maropitant before the journey (13).
Recommended dosage of maropitant is 1mg/kg of the dog’s weight for a maximum period of 5 days. If the vomiting still persists take your dog to the vet immediately.
4) White Willow Bark
The bark of white willow is dried, and its components are extracted by making a tea out of it. Salicylic Acid in white willow has anti-inflammatory properties which are used to relieve pain by reducing the inflammation. You can use this to treat Parvo in dogs because the cold and sore throat is part of Parvo, which can be kept in control by giving this tea to the dog. It also has Flavonoids and Polyphenols which have anti-oxidant, fever reducing, antiseptic and immune boosting properties, that are helpful in not only treating Parvo but a lot of other conditions in dogs as well as humans (14).
You can buy white willow bark online or at a nearby store. Use about 2 tablespoons of it with 8 ounces of water. Add the dried bark to boiling water and simmer it for 10 minutes. Feed this tea to your dog 3-4 times a day, the effects are slower acting as compared to aspirin but they last way longer.
5) Activated Charcoal
Activated Charcoal is a material produced by heating Charcoal with limited air and then activating it with water or steam to increase its absorptive surface area. It can be very useful to stop the body from absorbing any toxins or chemicals ingested by mistake as a 50g dose of activated charcoal can have absorptive surface equivalent to 7 football fields (15). If the dog has had food or water infected with Parvovirus, it would be best to stop the absorption of that food item in the stomach rather than treating Parvo later. Activated carbon will absorb anything in the stomach, whether good or bad so make sure you don’t continue to feed it to the dog. Its dosage should strictly be maintained according to the rule 1 gram per kilogram of body weight. Mix the powder in a cup of water, make sure you weigh it perfectly according to the weight before feeding it to the dog. Feed 5-10 ml at a time in gaps of 10 minutes to see your dog on the upswing just after a second dose.
6) Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has been used for decades to treat many diseases. One of these is digestive system problem which is caused because of Parvovirus and can be a very big problem for your dog. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that are good for any disease. It also has an anti-microbial activity which kills micro-organisms in the body or stops their growth (16). You can use Chamomile Tea for treating Parvo at home by making the tea and feeding it to your dog 4-5 times in a day, but make sure it isn’t too hot.
To make this tea, you will need 3-4 chamomile flowers, 2 slices of a peeled apple and 2 cups of water. Boil the water in your teapot and add the apple slices in it. Mash the apple slices and add the chamomile flowers. Cover and steep for 5 minutes and cool it down a little before feeding it to your dog.
7) Olive Leaf
Olive has many medicinal properties. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbes. U.S. patent declares that one of the constituents in olive is Oleuropein, which has a very powerful anti-microbial activity against viruses like Herpes, Rotavirus, Bovine Rhinovirus, and Canine Parvovirus (17). It has been found that olive leaves contain the highest amount of Oleuropein which can be used to make a tea, for extracting its constituents that help your little friend.
To make a tea, you will require a handful of olive leaves and a cup of water. Dry the leaves in the oven for 10 minutes at 150ºF and steep a teaspoon of it in a cup of hot water for another 10 minutes. You can also buy Olive leaf extract online and use 3-4 drops of it in a chamomile tea to utilize the effects of both.
8) Echinacea Purpurea
This is a flower from the sunflower family that is native to Eastern North America and is also present in the Canadian province of Ontario. It has been used by Native American Indians for centuries to treat Stomach Cramps, Pain, and Cough. It can be used as a home treatment for Parvo because it is helpful to Endoparasites and stomach problems in dogs, that come with Parvo. (18).
You will require ½ cup for fresh leaves, root and flower mixture or ¼ cup if using dried. Add this mixture to 8 oz of boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. Keep the pot covered when simmering so that the extract stays in the tea.
Agrimonia, also known as Agrimony, is a plant from the family of Rosaceae. It is native to the Northern Hemisphere and Asia. It has medicinal properties which help in the treatment of abdominal pain, bloody discharge, and headaches. Pharmacological research has proved that it has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-hemostatic properties amongst others. These will help your dog fight various symptoms of Parvo, including bloody diarrhea, stomach issues, and pain caused in any part of the body (19).
You can prepare a tea with dried Agrimony which you can easily buy at a nearby store or online. You will need about 2 tbsp of the herb and 2 cups of water. Boil the water and turn off the flame. Add the tea and steep for about 10 minutes and give it to your dog about 4 times in a day. This remedy will help a lot to treat Parvo.
10) Egg Yolk
Egg yolk derived from unvaccinated chickens works best to get rid of Parvo in dogs. Egg yolks have Immunoglobulins and Colostrum which help eradicate the virus completely, but this method should only be used after you see depression and laziness that have been suppressed, and your dog is passing solid stools. It has been observed that the dogs who were fed egg yolk gained weight faster and showed signs of virus shedding (20). Egg yolk powder can be purchased from a nearby store and given to the dog. It is suggested that you avoid fresh egg yolk because of insufficient information about the vaccine.
You can mix egg yolk powder in your dog’s food, or you can mix it in water. Either way works, but you just need to make sure that it consumes the yolks completely to make the Immunoglobulins and Colostrum work.
Your dog has an awful discomfort because of Parvovirus which is mainly caused by the activity in its stomach. This is causing acute diarrhea which needs to be dealt with. Probiotics are the substances that contain good bacteria. They are helpful in restoring the bacterial balance in your body, especially in your intestines. Your dog’s intestines work in a similar manner, and if you give it Probiotics, you will see a change in its stools immediately, as they restore the good bacteria in the body which are very important to make the digestive system work like it should (21).
A lot of food items are Probiotics like Curd, Yogurt, Micro-Algae, Sauerkraut, Miso Soup, Tempeh, etc. You can also use Probiotic supplements like Now Foods Probiotic-10, Life and Ultra Probiotic-50, Healthy Origins Probiotic, etc. Mix a tablespoon in your dog’s food or water to help alleviate the symptoms.
Keep In Mind
- Do not forget to get your puppy vaccinated against Parvovirus, the final shot happens when your dog is a year old. So do not miss any of the shots if you want to keep your dog protected from Parvo.
- Routine health checkup once in 6-7 months is a must to help you diagnose early if any disease has hit your dog. You must get your puppy checked by a vet within 2 days of adoption to help it survive the most critical days of its life where the risk of infectious diseases is very high.
- Clean your house with ammonia and water twice a day as suggested before to keep the house free of the virus as Parvovirus is a very strong virus that can escape most commercial cleaning products. Clean your house with this solution at least for 30 days after the completion of treatment to avoid the recurrence.
- Monitor the environment of the house, or at least the room in which your dog lives. Keep checking its rectal temperature which should be <99ºF.
- Wear gloves when touching the dog and cleaning the house to avoid catching the virus yourself and dump the gloves away from your house. While it won’t make you sick, it will make you a carrier of the virus, which can make any other pets sick if they come in contact with you or the places you have visited with the virus.
- Keep the dog hydrated by feeding it liquids constantly because water is the basic necessity and it will need more water and electrolytes when it is sick.
- Once you notice that your dog has started feeling better and looks more energetic, introduce food slowly starting with liquid food first like broth, soup, and then moving on to feeding egg yolk and simple carbohydrates like milk, fruits, as well as other milk products like cottage cheese and yogurt. Some homemade dog food recipes (vet approved) can also be tried.
- Stay with your little buddy and try not leaving it alone because no one likes to be left alone in health or sickness.
Your first reaction after finding out about your dog’s illness is a worry, and while it doesn’t solve any problems, it sure does make you look for possible solutions. Finding a cure would be an easy task if you are in the financial standing to afford inpatient care at an animal hospital, but if you don’t, or you are in a place where there is no proper animal care hospitals or clinics, you are bound to help your dog at home and cure Parvo. These methods will work if you maintain proper hygiene in the house and give total attention to your dog, but it is highly recommended that you take your dog to a vet to see if it is diagnosed with Parvo because taking a chance is not an option.
NOTE: Point number 2 and 3 are recommended allopathic medicines available easily, and not natural treatments. These will help reduce the symptoms of parvo in your canine and help you treat the dog at home. However, if you don’t see any improvement in the condition, you should take your dog to the vet immediately as parvo is a serious, life-threatening illness.
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