The Parvo Chronicles – How Our Puppy Survived the Often Fatal Parvovirus

If you are reading this, you may suspect or know that your dog or puppy has Parvo, aka: Parvovirus. If that is the case, I am very sorry and I encourage you to take your pet to the veterinary hospital without delay. If it is after your normal vet’s hours and your puppy exhibits the signs of Parvovirus, you would be wise to consider an emergency vet if you are fairly convinced your pet has Parvo. However, if you are already in the treatment phases or unable to do so at the moment, here’s a tale of how our long awaited puppy survived Parvo. Hopefully this tale is enough to encourage you to stay strong, keep a positive outlook, and give your dog the proper vet care that is so typically needed for a dog or pup to beat Parvo.

I’ve had my heart set on a border collie puppy for a few years now. This year, 2009, I thought would be the year we’d get a puppy, and I was right – but it didn’t happen right away. For one reason or another, every time a pregnant border collie was about to have pups, something either went wrong, or we discovered there were no puppies to be born. The false pregnancies got me started thinking that something wasn’t quite right with my plan, but I still desperately wanted a puppy. Then one weekend, my husband suggested we adopt a border collie from a shelter or a rescue instead of buying from a breeder.

I was skeptical at first because often the border collies given up for rescue tend to be older dogs or dogs of a few years old. Puppies rarely seem to be available. I decided to search on to see if I could prove myself wrong. I checked up and down the whole East Coast to no avail. Plenty of dogs and puppies needed good homes, but I just didn’t see the one that stole my heart on first glimpse. Finally, I started searching the available pets out on the West Coast. When I got to Utah, the perfect puppy stared back at me from one of the pages of search results.

The little puppy was only nine weeks old and had the adorable looks of a border collie. She was half border collie and half Australian shepherd too, but you’d never know it by looking at her. She is the spitting image of a border collie – with the split face and all. Her fluffy black and white fur and precious face – half black and half white – gave me all the inspiration I needed to pick up the phone and call the shelter. She was still available!

In one day’s spin of the clock, I had all the plans in place for this little puppy to fly to PA from Utah in two short days. She’d catch a ride to Las Vegas, fly into Atlanta for a connection up to Allentown, and then we’d pick her up after my brother’s high school graduation and drive her home. It was a well choreographed plan, all things considered. Turns out her flight got delayed and we didn’t get home with her until 2 a.m., but it was all well worth it. What happened next is where the real story begins.

We took our puppy to the vet for a health check and a Lyme’s disease shot, as well as a kennel cough vaccine. She seemed perfectly healthy! We named her Moko, after the Maori tribal face tattoos worn by a number of the aboriginal people in New Zealand. (With this in mind, it translates roughly to “mask.”)  Moko met some of our family members and neighbors, played, ate, slept, and did all the wonderful things a puppy does. Then, only five days from the night we got her, our little puppy became very ill. My husband and I had no idea why or what was wrong. My hubby had to leave for a weekend golf trip, and that first night is when I looked up all her symptoms online.

My projected hypochondria and hours of sleuthing led me to believe she had Parvo. Her symptoms included very watery yellow diarrhea, vomiting (since she hadn’t eaten anything, it was mostly yellow bile and foamy, clear liquid, kind of just like slobber), laziness and complete lethargy (what puppy do you know that is content to sleep ALL DAY LONG?), no desire to play, and refusing to eat and drink all day. The more I read online, the more I convinced myself she had Parvo. Around 11 p.m., I called and left the vet a message that I wanted the first available appointment that next morning.

Based on my detective work, I frantically tried to get her to drink water. Dogs and puppies that get Parvo typically die of starvation and dehydration within 24 – 48 hours or so. This terrified me. My efforts to get Moko to drink water were not working out too well, but I kept trying.

Here is what I did to get her to drink:
1.    Tried to give her ice chips in her bowl to entice her to drink or even accidentally get some water in her mouth.
2.    Used a turkey baster to force some water down her throat. This was somewhat successful, but I spilled as much as I got down her throat.
3.    Added a small splash of milk to her bowl of water – she actually did go after it and drank for a good 20 seconds or so. This was the most successful method.

I also gave her a small piece of ham lunchmeat even though we decided no people food. It was literally a small piece the size of a quarter, so I don’t know if she got any nourishment at all, but she did reluctantly eat it, which made me feel better.

The next morning, she seemed a good deal better – happy and playful, but she still had diarrhea and she just didn’t seem right. At the vet’s, they tested her droppings and gave her a general exam. The vet didn’t think she had Parvo as I suspected, because she seemed too energetic and healthy, but decided to do a Parvo test anyway for both our peace of mind. About 10 minutes later, the vet returned and my worst fears were confirmed. Moko tested positive for Parvo.

Continue reading the story…

5 thoughts on “The Parvo Chronicles – How Our Puppy Survived the Often Fatal Parvovirus”

  1. Beautiful story. I’m very happy to know stories like these. It gives me hope that my puppy and I will get through this. (my 1 year old pitbull just got parvo a couple days ago). Thank you for sharing your inspiring story.

  2. My thoughts and prayers are with your puppies! Parvo is a sneaky ailment and the outcomes vary from dog to dog. I genuinely hope your pups make it through!

    JBlair – Thanks for sharing your story – I really hope both pups recovered well! Please let us know. 🙂

    PChisamore – it sounds like you caught it very, very early (like me!) and I think getting her to the vet gives a great at Daisy’s recovery. Maybe if they get some IVs into her she will perk right up – I couldn’t believe our Moko only stayed in the vet’s office for one overnight!! Getting her to stay hydrated is vital. I really hope she pulls through – your fast response to your puppy’s behavior is commendable. 🙂 Please, please do keep us posted!

  3. Thanks for sharing this very informative story. I just got my pup not even 48 hrs ago, and after reading this am positive she has parvo. One of the other pups died on the couch while I was visiting my pup, and I took her out of there right then and there. She was fine all day yesterday after getting her to my home, but today she barely drank, and refused to eat. I will be calling the vet first thing in the morning, as I have just found out another of the pups from the same litter died tonight. This is just so sad, and Daisy is just too beautiful to give up on. I will be following the comments and quotes from here, and update everyone on my pup’s progress. Hope she is one of the lucky ones…..

  4. i am happy that your puppy survived Parvo. I have two puppies myself, the first one i got, i suspect now that she had parvo, but i doctored her at home don’t know if she had it or not, she was given to me when she was only four weeks old. I kept her hydrated and stayed up with her and kept her going, every day i didn’t know if she would live or die, and i didn’t know that she might have parvo, i just thought that she was given to me to early, and still needed her mom dog. i rescued her brother two weeks later and he was happy dog for a couple of weeks, until he got diagnosed with Parvo and just got out of the hospital three days ago. both puppies are doing well. I am waiting for the last sick pup to get well enough for the rest of his shots, even though his sis has had hers after her bout with her sickness i got her an exam right away and vaccinated. 😆 😆 😆

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