Monday, January 23, 2012

Potchi survived ParvoVirus

My post is totally out of line with the genre of my blog - food and gaming. However, I had this urge to share my experience with my dog catching the parvovirus. So what the heck is a parvovirus?

Parvovirus is a contagious virus mainly affecting dogs. The disease is highly contagious and is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces. It can be especially severe in puppies that are not protected by maternal antibodies or vaccination.

Jan 13th, after spending a night out with my good friends I thought that I was spared from the "unlucky Friday the 13th". Well, I was but not Potchi, my Border Collie (mixed) 7 month old puppy. When I came home that night, I thought he was just too sleepy to play with me so I left him at his bed and said goodnight.

Jan 14th, my brother told me that Potchi didn't eat anything since Friday and he was vomiting and having some diarrhea. He was not his usual self, Potchi is the most playful dog to the point that he will literally drive you nuts but that day, he was too lethargic - just lying around and not responding to our calls. At first, I thought he just ate something that may have upset his stomach but later that night, I saw his stool giving out a foul smell and there were traces of blood.

Took a picture of my "baby" before bringing him to the vet

I made some research via the net and all the symptoms of Parvo was similar to Potchi's and the mortality rate for dogs with this disease is pretty high. I was scared to death that he might die since he wasn't vaccinated, so I decided to bring him to the vet early morning.

Jan 15th, as suspected the vet confirmed that Potchi caught the virus. This time, Potchi vomited something foamy with traces of blood. The worst thing I heard is that there’s no cure for this disease. The vets offered me 2 options, have Potchi confined for at least a week or bring him home and give him medicines. I preferred the first one however, I can only afford 1 day of confinement (2.5k php). It was really heartbreaking to see him like that and I had to talk to him that I needed to leave him and he needs to fight this disease. I know it's really weird but I guess it somehow helped him understand the situation.

Jan 16th, I got him out of the "hospital" he hasn't improved and the vet just gave me a prescription: Embatrim (antibiotics) and Maalox (for vomiting). I also had to force feed him with am (rice water) and egg mixture. Force feeding him was really exhausting and you need someone to help you with this in taking rounds. Since there was no IV fluid, we need to force liquid into the sides of his cheeks using a syringe every 30 minutes.

Jan 17th, my birthday and the only thing I wished for was for him to get well. However, the only improvement was to see him wag his tail whenever he is called. We continued to give his medicines and force feed him. I also took the risk of giving him Gatorade (orange flavor). I'm not sure if he liked it, but he still consumed it.

Jan 18 to 19th, a slight improvement. No diarrhea or bloody vomit and he is also drinking water on his own.

Jan 20th, he immediately stood up and greeted us when we came home! He even tried to give out a faint bark! I also learned that he ate some fish for dinner (w/o the bones of course). I knew that this is a good sign and I hugged him and thanked him for continuing to fight this disease.

Jan 21st, Potchi is now playing with us. He's not that playful yet but you can see him running around the house. He also eats on his own little by little. No more vomiting or diarrhea.

As of now, his health is improving. Not all dogs and dog owners are fortunate enough to overcome this disease. It takes a lot of patience and awareness how to fight this disease since it is really heartbreaking to see how your dog is deteriorating in front of you.

When you see the following symptoms, bring your dog to the vet ASAP:

• Lethargic. If your dog normally likes to play and has high energy, this is the clearest sign that something is wrong. You could say they act depressed.

• Lack of Appetite. The more common strains attack the digestive system.

• Vomiting with no change in diet. It usually looks clear and foamy.

• Bloody Diarrhea.

• Stronger Feces Odor.

There is no cure for this virus, as a dog owner the only thing you could do is provide extreme care for your dog.

• Keep your dog rehydrated; this is the number one rule. Your dog will be vomiting and have diarrhea meaning he is losing all the nutrients and fluids his body needs. Give him 10 cc of oral rehydrite solution (dissolve 1 tablet to 1 cup of water) every 30 mins. For the first 2 days, 1 cup per day will be good enough. You can't force too much liquid to your pet as this will cause him to just throw it all up. Once your dog can intake liquid w/o throwing it up, you can gradually increase the dosage.

• Once your dog vomits or does #2, estimate how many liquids were lost. To keep him rehydrated, you need to force liquid amounting to the fluid lost.

Suggested fluids:

• Am (rice water) mixed with 1 tablespoon of sugar and cooked egg yolk
• Gatorade (never use the grape flavor - not sure why)
• Oral rehydrite (most advisable)

Medications: 2x per day

Embatrim (antibacterial)
Maalox (for vomiting)

Once your dog is back to his usual self, you may want to bring him to your vet for shots and further observation :) Don't give up on your dog and he will try his/her best to not give up as well.

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