Parvo Virus in Puppies and Treating Parvo Out Patient Style

When a dog gets a viral enteritis like Parvo, it can lose alot of fluids from vomiting and diarrhea. Part of the treatments we give are to stop the vomiting and diarrhea, as well as the replacement of the lost fluids.

Parvo Virus also depresses red cell production while causing LOSS or same red cells through a damaged bowel. Some dogs get down to the need for transfusion. Super expensive and not without side effect.

We’re having pretty good luck with a method of “management” for Parvo in which we work with the patient on an outpatient basis. To an extent, I almost prefer it, partly from a disease-spread standpoint, but also, at home, dogs are under less stress. And let’s face it, the owner may coaxe and nurse a dog wayyyyyyyy   more than any Vet staff ever could.

Sometimes owners are financially unable to put a dog in the veterinary hospital and run fluids intra-venously 24 hours a day.

In those circumstances, we can design care at home that might just work.

Everyone endeavoring to treat at home should be aware that success rates are lower at home than at the hospital because support is so much greater with injections, and the doctor’s monitoring.

[In many instances, it becomes necessary to supplement a case being treated at home with a few injections to control severe vomiting (on an appointment basis), but this still costs less than hospitalization.

An example is the case where an owner was doing her best, but ended up bringing the dog in for injections to stop vomiting. She did the rest of the treatments and medications at home.]

What follows is a discussion of how to manage Parvo to best effect, at home.

* Step One: Prepare a warm, indoor place for the dog. Disinfect other areas in which the dog may have been with diluted Clorox bleach. A 1:30 dilution is ideal. Keep the dog, and the area, clean. Dogs can get severely depressed when the odor becomes strong or they become matted with vomitus or feces.

* Step Two: Administer an antibiotic agent with a good gut spectrum, from the Vet. Good examples are Albon, Amforal, or Cephalexin.

* Step Three: Many cases require anti-vomiting pills, but sometimes injections of these drugs (Robinul-Glycopyrrholate / Metoclopramide / Ondansetron / Cerenia) are required because the pills don’t stay down long enough to work. Know when to get the injections. For example, If the pet cannot keep the pills down, it will need at least a few of these injections. You can get the dog injected twice daily and the rest of the time it may stay at home. This has been done very successfully and with less expense than hospitalization.

* Step Four: Give Red or Grape Gatorade (or other electrolyte drink, like PediaLyte), every 1 to 3 hours in small quantities. For a 20 pound dog, 60 cc by mouth over a 2-3 hour period is reasonable.

* Step Five: If the case is obviously deteriorating or if new symptoms, like a bad cold, should appear, then a visit to the vet will be required to try to save the dog, economics permitting.

Many clients can be trained how to give fluids under the skin. This increases “at home” survival odds exponentially.

Home care should only be done once the diagnosis is made. This care is no substitute for necessary deworming, or the therapy for more serious problems that may be left un-diagnosed!


Lots of oral fluids on a frequent and consistent basis! Do whatever it takes to stop the vomiting.

Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.