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Parvo and hookworms.

Species: Dog
Breed: Miniature Doxen
Age: Less than 3 mon
Last Monday, I got this puppy, a miniature doxen. Well, the first few days he was a happy go lucky puppy playing around and eating normally. But the past three days I noticed he was getting skinny and not eating and yesterday he started to vomit everything he took in. I took him to the vet today and he came back positive for the Parvovirus. I went ahead and paid for him to get treatment and was told that he had a 85-90% survival rate and that they will call me when they have updates. I just got a call about an hour ago saying that in a normal puppy, their white bloodcell count is a 5 and that my puppy's was currently at 1.5. My puppy is about 6-8 weeks old and I was thinking that because he is young, and we caught the virus in its early stages (no blood in stool yet), that he might be able to pull through this. Also, the test showed hookworms which I was told is a minor issue that they could take care of easily. What are the odds that my puppy will survive this ordeal?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that your puppy has parvo virus. Parvo is a nasty virus, but your vet is correct in saying that 85-90% will survive when they are treated in the hospital.

The low white blood cell count is very normal for a parvo virus puppy. It is the low white cell count that causes parvo puppies to have problems. This decrease in white blood cells means that the dog has a very hard time fighting infection. So, one of the things that your vet will be doing while he is in the hospital is giving him IV antibiotics.

Dogs with parvo will have severe vomiting and diarrhea. So, your vet will be treating with IV fluids to fight against dehydration. They will also be giving strong medications intravenously to help to stop the vomiting. Additionally, they will be giving medications to help against damage in the intestines because of the virus.

It can take several days for a puppy to get through parvo virus. I have had some dogs that are completely better after 48 hours, and others that have taken a week or more to get back on their feet.

I would say that my success rate has been about 90% with in hospital treatment.

And yes, the hookworms should be taken care of quite easily with medication as well. One of the problems though is that this will need to be an oral medication and the vets will likely not be able to give it until they have the vomiting under control.

It sounds like he is in good hands. I really hope he does ok!

You got your question in to me just as I was turning off my online status. I'm heading off to bed now, but if you have more concerns about your pup feel free to reply and I will check in on your question in the morning.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you for answering my question. I was just wondering when my puppy comes home, what are the odds of him getting Parvo again? I swept the places hes been with Lysol, but I don't know what to do about the yard. One more thing, is it possible to tell whether or not a puppy will successfully respond to the treatment before the treatment is over? My nerves are just rattling right now because I do not want to lose another pet; my cat passed just a week before and I would be devastated if something happened to my puppy.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, you got me just before I closed the laptop. :)

Once a dog has parvo it is extremely rare for it to happen again. He will have antibodies against the disease. In most cases these antibodies will last years and years.

As well, he really should be vaccinated once he is healthy enough. Vaccines are very good for protecting against parvo.

Regarding your yard, there really is not much you can do. But, the virus lives in feces and vomit. So, clean up any mess you can find. It may live in the environment for a few months. It's possible to live for a year or more if conditions are right, but this is not common. However, this is really not a risk for your dog as he will not pick up parvo again. But, it can be a risk if an unvaccinated dog comes into your yard.

Unfortunately we can't often tell which pups will survive and which ones won't. You are right though that you got him in early and this is very good!

The pups that I have found die from parvo are either ones where the owners waited too long to bring him in, or in rare cases we get a form of parvo that affects the heart and this is very serious. Fortunately we don't see this often though.

I'm very sorry to hear about your cat.

OK, I am officially offline now as it is bedtime here. :)

Praying for a speedy recovery for your little one!

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

Thanks again for answering those questions. I will let you know how he does.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.