What Parvo Looks Like

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If you'd asked me two weeks ago what Parvo looks like, I probably couldn't have identified the symptoms. That's why I'm sharing our story today, to help other owners nip it in the bud as quickly as possible.

What Parvo Looks Like for a Dog Owner

bjorne and kraken

Fourteen days ago, I was talking to my grandma on the phone. “I'm not a ‘dog person' by any means, but I'm glad Nate got them. This dang German Shepherd sheds everywhere and he's slobbery, but he lays his head on my lap when I'm sad and he has the sweetest eyes. And that little one has become attached to me at the hip. He's something else.”

nudging my dog with love

I was reluctant to get the dogs, but they slowly became a welcome addition to the family. I picked up some treats that day to continue training Bjorne how to respond to my commands. He's always been good around the kids, having come into a home full of babies when he was just a baby himself, but I wanted him to react immediately when I called.

puppy bjorne

Eleven days ago, I hollered angrily across the field to Nate after discovering that Bjorne had left an accident on the kitchen floor. “They're your dogs, YOU take care of them!” I figured Nate was sneaking him bits of sausage or something to upset his stomach. Nothing out of the ordinary. And then he went from troubled to sick to deathly ill, practically overnight.

family pup

Eight days ago, I was told that Bjorne had a deadly disease called Parvo. After the relative indifference I'd shown towards him, I was wracked with grief when the test came back. We didn't have the money to admit him to an animal hospital, so I turned to my vet sister-in-law for help. She sighed and looked worried, and she filled a bag with prescriptions. “Doing something is always better than doing nothing.”

sick dog

Five days ago, I fell asleep on a couch by Bjorne's side. I administered IVs and force-fed him with a syringe. In this bleary mess of blood and fluids  I finally realized I'd fallen in love with this little dog. He shook violently with hypoglycemia and I did what I could, rubbing maple syrup on his gums to stabilize blood sugar. Alternating him from heating pads to ice packs as his temperature fluctuated wildly, I realized all that was left was to pray.

dog treat pack

Three days ago, he started to turn around and I finally granted myself the luxury of hope. I'd done all I could do and needed a distraction to keep my hands busy. So – what else? – I crafted. I made him a box of goodies to use when he got better. I just knew he would get better, despite the gravely-quoted odds. I boxed up my pup's well-worn collar, his leash and travel bowl and a pack of treats to keep him occupied and show him love during our many future trips together. To the lake, to the fields, to Oma and Opa's house. I talked to Bjorne about the many adventures that awaited, and he mustered the effort to curiously cock his head to the side.

bjorne recovering

Yesterday, we emerged. Dare I say, out of the woods? I fed him from that box and he wagged his stumpy tail. I smiled, and I swear he did too.

The medication is over and he's playing outside as I type. The family's gathered for a walk (around our own property, as we don't want to risk other pets being exposed until he's definitely stopped being contagious). I've checked Kraken's records and made sure he's vaccinated, since I really can't go through this again. We have a camping trip planned, where the dogs can frolic on the beach with the kids, nothing to worry about but sand and fish and making memories.

dog treat pack

Have you ever had an experience with Parvo?


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9 thoughts on “What Parvo Looks Like”

  1. I’m so glad he is feeling better. What a beautiful dog…I am sure he smiled at you too for dos can sense love. As for packing treats for the dogs, my daughter does that for her little fellow every time he visit or when we go to the beach.

  2. I’m so glad your pup pulled through. A friend fo mine took a dog in off the street a few weeks back only to find out it had Parvo. She couldn’t cover the vet bills either, and despite her best efforts, the pup passed, lucky you had a relative in the Vet biz. So glad to see your furry family recovering and enjoying the Summer with Nudges (they really are wonderful high quality pet treats!)

  3. My kids are begging for a dog and I love your story. We would definitely make a doggy treat pack if we had a doggy. 🙁

  4. Ohhh this post makes me so sad 🙁
    I lost my doggie to illness too, although it wasn’t parvo (mainly old age I guess?), and it is debilitating when you lose them! They’re basically your babies! *hugs*

  5. Oh man Chelsea! Parvo is so scary. Thank goodness he was okay. The dog we just adopted was brought into the shelter with parvo and I’m almost surprised she survived in there. I remember when you were not so happy about bringing home the first dog…and now we both have houses taken over by dogs…what a year!

  6. Woo hoo!!! Chelsea this is such good news!! I was going to email you today to ask how he was doing. You have really earned the title of Doggie Mama by pulling him through! Congratulations!

  7. Oh wow! We had a couple of our pups catch this a couple years ago, Bear and Trynity. Bear was too far advanced once he started showing symptoms. We also didnt have money to admit them. He passed away and it was so awful the way it happened that I obsessively searched the internet looking for (and bought) a recipe to help. Trynity was actually way worse but we started an IV (I was a nurse 🙂 ) and I also syringe fed her round the clock. She came through it and so I keep that recipe on hand ALWAYS……and I was like you, NOT a dog person. But when you see them suffer like that, it’s different. I’m glad your puppy is okay!

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