Endell Veterinary Group

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Case Study: Parvovirus…

Meet Teddy, a 5 month old Cockerpoo - last month he came into see us at Endells as he was vomiting and very quiet, not at all like his bright bouncy self! When he came in on a Thursday morning he had vomited a few times and was quiet, but otherwise on physical examination there was nothing abnormal noted, so we gave him an injection to stop him vomiting and his owners were told to bring him back if he didn’t improve.

The following morning Teddy was no better; he had continued to vomit overnight and his tummy was very sore and so the decision was made to admit him and carry out further investigations. Before the investigations could begin we put a catheter into Teddy’s front leg so we could give him some intravenous fluids to help replace the fluids he was losing because he couldn’t keep anything in due to him vomiting.

The investigations included an xray of Teddy’s stomach to check he hadn’t eaten any toys or objects which could become stuck in his stomach or intestines, an ultrasound of Teddy’s stomach to check for any abnormalities and various different blood tests. The blood tests showed that Teddy had a very low level of white blood cells, which could suggest he either wasn’t making enough white blood cells or they were being used up in the body to fight off an infection. With a few more tests we diagnosed Teddy with parvovirus, a very contagious virus which affects the intestines of young dogs over six weeks old and also the heart muscle in young puppies (very rare).

Teddy was vaccinated at the standard times of eight and ten weeks old with a vaccine course that includes protection against parvovirus. However in a small amount of cases, vaccinated dogs (1 in 30,000-70,000) can still become ill with the virus because they still have antibodies (part of the body’s defence system to fight off infection) from their mothers which help to protect them when they are young. As the puppies get older these antibody levels drop and we have to boost the antibody levels with a vaccine to give them protection. If these antibodies from their mothers are still at a high level when we vaccinate the puppies then it can interfere with how the vaccination works and this is what happened with Teddy.

Teddy was moved up to our isolation kennels and the areas which he had been in were thoroughly cleaned using a special disinfectant to kill the parvovirus. Treatment was started which consisted of two different types of antibiotics, intravenous fluids, an anti-vomiting injection, some pain relief and also a special drug called interferon.

On Saturday morning Teddy’s condition was still critical. We continued the medications and the intravenous fluids, to support him and allow his body to fight off the infection. Over the bank holiday weekend Teddy was cared for by our dedicated out of hours veterinary team, who are based within our premises Endell Veterinary Group. Teddy remained stable over the weekend, but very little improvement in his condition was seen.

By Tuesday he was a little brighter and with some changes to his medication and lots of intensive nursing he started to improve. On Wednesday and Thursday he came on leaps and bounds, eating well with no further episodes of vomiting. Finally a week after he was admitted, the moment his owners had been waiting for, taking Teddy home. There were some strict guidelines they had to follow with him at home with regards to medications and feeding, but the good news was he was allowed home! Unfortunately for Teddy he wasn’t allowed out on a walk for a further two weeks because he could still spread the parvovirus, but during that period he still enjoyed being home!

For further information on parvovirus please see our Quick Reference Guide or speak to one of our members of staff.


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