Caring for the Recovered Dog
THE PARVO PUPPY GOES HOME
Hopefully at this point, the hospitalized puppy is eating, bright, playful and ready to come home. Be prepared to make some special arrangements as there will likely be medication or special diet arrangement. Consider making a list of questions for your veterinarian though we will attempt to cover the basics here.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Your puppy may be finishing up a course of antibiotics and may also be on some medication for nausea or diarrhea. It is important that you give your puppy the medication prescribed for the full amount of time it has prescribed.
- Your puppy is recovering from some extensive damage to his/her intestinal tract. It is typical for stool to be a little loose at first or for no stool to be produced for a few days as the tract recovers. The stool should gradually firm up over the first 3-5 days at home and your puppy should be active and of normal attitude. If the diarrhea persists, if vomiting occurs or if your puppy seems depressed, please contact your vet at once for instructions.
(photocredit: Nan Chorpash)
- Your puppy may be ravenously hungry after going so long with limited food. Do not allow the puppy to gorge as this can result in vomiting or diarrhea. Feed smaller meals separated by at least an hour or two.
- Do not feed table scraps. Stick to the diet recommended by your veterinarian. A prescription diet may have been sent home or a home cooked diet may have been recommended (such as boiled chicken and white rice, or fat free cottage cheese and pasta). It is important for your puppy’s food to be easily digestible so stick to the protocol your veterinarian has recommended.
- Your puppy should be considered contagious to other puppies for a good month so it is important to “play it safe” by restricting trips to the park, obedience school or other neighborhood areas. The virus is no longer shedding directly in the puppy's stool; the pup is contagious because of the high amounts of virus still in the puppy's fur from the time of active infection. A bath goes far in reducing potential for contagion.
- If your puppy is less than 16 weeks of age, he/she should not be allowed in public areas until the vaccination series is fully completed. Your puppy can be considered immune to parvovirus but there are many other infectious diseases he/she needs to be vaccinated against.
- Adult dogs that are current on their parvo vaccinations are not susceptible to infection. If an adult dog at home is not current, a booster shot is definitely in order.
- The introduction of new puppies poses a problem as the parvovirus persists a long time in the environment. If possible, only puppies that have completed their vaccination series should be introduced into an environment where parvovirus has been present. Any obviously contaminated material should be removed (fecal or vomit contaminated objects that cannot be bleached, any remaining areas of feces, etc.) For more details, please read our section on Disinfection of the Environment.
- Your puppy may be bathed any time as long as you do not allow him/her to get cold or chilled after the bath. Bathing will reduce the amount of virus left on the puppy’s fur and will help reduce contagion.
- Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. Your puppy cannot be re-infected with this virus for at least 3 years (and probably is protected for life simply by virtue of this infection) but there are other viruses that your puppy should be protected against. Your veterinarian will give you a vaccination schedule to adhere to for the future.
There should be no permanent ramifications due to this infection.
The recovered puppy should lead a normal life once the recovery period is completed (1-2 weeks).
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR PUPPY’S CARE AFTER DISCHARGE CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN’S OFFICE FOR ASSISTANCE
Page last updated: 8/11/2021