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Published: Mar 14, 2012

Parvovirus in dogs is a disease that requires serious treatment. If you notice clinical signs in your dog such as severe vomiting or diarrhea, it is important to see your vet to determine the cause and the best course of action to nurse your dog back to health.

While there is no treatment to kill the virus once it has infected your dog, there are ways to address the effects it can have on the canine's body, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. The virus is capable of destroying the protective lining of the intestinal tract as well as white and red blood cells. Together these features allow the virus to commonly cause a condition called septicemia—in which bacteria get into the blood stream. It is this complication which often causes parvovirus to be a fatal condition.

Doctors Foster and Smith reports the most important treatment is replacement of fluids and electrolytes the dog has lost through diarrhea and vomiting to treat dehydration. Usually intravenous fluids are required, therefore, most pets will require hospitalization with the vet to make a successful recovery. Other intravenous medications such as antibiotics to treat septicemia, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications are often required in dogs severely affected by parvovirus.  While there is no specific treatment to get rid of the virus, with early diagnosis and aggressive medical intervention, puppies with parvovirus infection can be supported and can recover.

The best way to protect against parvovirus infection is to ensure your dog gets properly vaccinated.  Puppies should receive parvovirus as part of their puppy series and multiple vaccinations are required before a puppy is well-protected.  Until your puppy is adequately protected against parvovirus infection, it is important to keep them out of high-risk environments—such as kennels, dog shows—or around other puppies or dogs who are sick with diarrhea.