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How to Treat CPV in Dogs

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious and potentially fatal viral infection that affects the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. It causes severe vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and loss of appetite. It can also damage the bone marrow and the immune system, making the dog more susceptible to secondary infections. CPV is most common in unvaccinated puppies and young dogs, but it can affect dogs of any age. In this blog, I will explain how CPV is diagnosed, treated, and prevented.

How is CPV diagnosed?

The diagnosis of CPV is based on the clinical signs, the history of exposure, and the results of laboratory tests. The most common test for CPV is a fecal antigen test, which detects the presence of the virus in the stool. This test can be performed in a veterinary clinic or a laboratory, and it usually gives results within minutes. However, this test is not 100% accurate, and it may give false negative results if the dog has low levels of the virus in the stool, or false positive results if the dog has been recently vaccinated or has antibodies from a previous infection. Therefore, other tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis, such as a blood test, a PCR test, or a biopsy of the intestinal tissue.

How is CPV treated?

Fluid and electrolyte therapy:

This is the most important part of the treatment, as it helps to restore the fluid balance, correct the acid-base and electrolyte imbalances, and maintain the blood pressure and the kidney function. Fluid therapy is usually given intravenously, and it may contain glucose, potassium, sodium bicarbonate, and other additives depending on the needs of the dog.


These are used to prevent or treat bacterial infections that may complicate the course of the disease, such as septicemia, pneumonia, or enteritis. Antibiotics are usually given intravenously or as injections, and they should be chosen based on the sensitivity of the bacteria and the condition of the dog.


These are used to control nausea and vomiting, which can worsen the dehydration and the loss of nutrients. Anti-emetics may include drugs such as maropitant, ondansetron, or metoclopramide, and they may be given orally, intravenously, or as injections.

Nutritional support:

This is essential to provide the energy and the nutrients that the dog needs to recover from the disease. Nutritional support may include feeding a highly digestible, low-fat, and high-protein diet, either orally or through a feeding tube. Nutritional supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, probiotics, or plasma, may also be given depending on the needs of the dog.

How is CPV prevented?

The best way to prevent CPV is to vaccinate your dog against the virus. Vaccination is safe and effective, and it protects your dog from the most common strains of CPV. The vaccination schedule may vary depending on the type of vaccine, the age of the dog, and the risk of exposure, but generally, it consists of a series of shots given to puppies starting at 6 to 8 weeks of age, followed by booster shots every year or every three years. It is important to follow the recommendations of your veterinarian and to keep your dog up to date with the vaccinations.


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