03 Feb Chat with a Vet – Parvovirus Part 1 of 2: Diagnosing, Next Steps and Expenses
Because Parvo doesn’t have a cure, it’s important to avoid crowded dog areas and to chat with a vet to recognize early signs of the virus.
Here are signs to watch for:
- Lack of appetite – If your pet has not finished his entire serving of food, that could be the first sign that something is wrong. Most puppies are very excited about food, so if you notice they aren’t eating normally, that should peak your interest. If this continues, contact your vet.
- Vomiting or diarrhea – These are the most typical signs of your pet being infected by Parvo. One or both of these symptoms can be a sign of Parvo, though it differs for every pet. Your dog may experience just vomiting, just diarrhea, or both.
- Lethargy – Sometimes puppies carrying Parvo don’t show any signs. They may instead be a little tired or look lethargic. It may be such a subtle difference that it will be difficult to notice something’s wrong. In those cases, the puppy could be sick and spreading the virus even though they’re not showing any symptoms.
Chat with a Vet – Getting a Diagnosis
The next step to diagnosing Parvo is a physical exam by your veterinarian. If your veterinarian suspects Parvo, they will likely rule out other illnesses with a series of tests for Parvo (e.g., antibody, blood, stool) to examine your pet’s cells in their GI tract.
It’s really important to have a veterinarian’s opinion, and not just assume your pet has Parvo. Other common issues may mirror the symptoms of Parvo.
Chat with a Vet – Costs of testing for Parvo
If you are at a veterinary clinic during regular hours you’ll have your exam fee (e.g., $45 – $85). If you are at an emergency clinic you’ll have a more expensive emergency exam fee (e.g., $90 – $150). And at both a regular and emergency clinic you’ll have fees for each diagnostic test (e.g., antibody, blood, stool). Fees vary by clinic but they can be $60- $100 or more per test. If your pet is diagnosed with Parvo, they may need to be hospitalized and that is costly. A 24 hour hospital stay with IV fluids and medication can be $1,000 or more. Your veterinarian may also recommend an in-home course of treatment, similar to what your pet would have in a hospital, if you are able to provide a high level of care for your pet at home.
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Chat with a Vet – Vaccinations
Parvo is completely preventable. Because there is no cure, it’s extremely important that new puppies are fully vaccinated. Parvo vaccines are given every 3 weeks, starting at 6-8 weeks of age up until the age of 16 weeks, then once again at one year of age. After that they get annual booster shots.
Vaccinating your puppy properly is very important to avoid this potentially deadly virus. Saving money by not vaccinating your pet will prove more expensive in the long run if they get sick, and may not be enough to save your precious pup. The adage “an ounce of prevention” cannot be more true for your pup and Parvo.