Parvo, Corona and Distemper Diseases of Dogs
Parvo, Corona and Distemper are the most common of the puppy diseases that infect the intestinal tract and bone marrow. However, Distemper also infects the respiratory system and brain. All of these are serious diseases and could be fatal.
Vaccinations are started at 6 to 8 weeks of age with booster shots given every 21 days until the pet is 4 months old. A puppy that does not get its vaccinations or is past 8 weeks of age is at risk of contracting one of these diseases, as the immunity from its mother starts wearing off at 8 weeks of age. If more than 21 days pass between vaccinations the puppy’s immunity may quickly decline, which can result in the pet becoming sick. A pet exposed to chilly weather or rain can also contribute to disease and illness.
Symptoms of the diseases can be lethargy (feeling sad and/or tired), vomiting, not eating, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), and a fever. The pet can become dehydrated and develop secondary infections. With Distemper, they can eventually develop twitching of the face and body, leading to seizures.
Treatment for these diseases includes intravenous and intra peritoneal fluids (glucose and electrolytes) for energy and metabolism, intravenous and muscular antibiotics, vitamin B12, and medications to manage vomiting and nausea. The plan is to sustain the pet’s fluid level in the body and provide supportive care.
It usually takes 3 to 7 days for the disease to run its course; therefore, we want to provide as much supportive care as possible. We may need to do a treatment daily for 3 to 5 days or even two treatments daily. Full hospitalization is also available. The more treatments done, the chances for the pet’s recovery increases. However, THERE IS NO GAURANTEE OF SUCCESS, even with treatment. We wish we could guarantee the success of a treatment, but unfortunately we cannot.
Home treatment consists of keeping the pet inside the house, warm and dry, a heating pad on a low setting is good. Provide fluids (Gatorade or Pedialyte) by mouth using a syringe, ice cubes can also be offered, as these are chewed and slowly absorbed. Offer stir-fried hamburger meat and boiled rice mixed 50/50, or Gerber’s baby food (beef or chicken) is a good palatable diet; however, most sick pets may not eat for a day or two. Typically, a pet will drink but then vomit; this is just a sign that the pet still requires IV treatments.
Vaccinations are given 7 days after recovery. This will provide protection for 5 different diseases.
All pets (dog and cats) should be started on heartworm preventative no later than 4 months of age and continued for the pet’s lifetime. This will prevent heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.