My twins just turned nine this year and for their birthday The Chad and I thought we would surprise them with a puppy. We wanted to expand our family and our rescue dog needed a buddy too. Searching ads and listings and animal shelter postings, we found the perfect addition. A brindle pug puppy, a snorty, flat faced, bundle of joy. Having bulldogs in the past, we knew what to expect from a smoosh faced breed and were excited for our little addition. What we were not excited for nor planned, was the news that she had parvo. The previous owners never told us, we had to find out at her first vet visit when the vet thought she would die. During our vet visit, the doctor asked me what I was doing, I was doing holistic parvo puppy care the best I could at home and with my limited resources. I explained my methods and actions were what I would do with my kids if they had a severe gastrointestinal virus; plenty of fluids, essential oils and bland foods.
We brought our little pug-a-saurus home on a Thursday. She bounded and bounced and ran all over like any puppy would. Licking faces, puppy kisses, wrestling and exploring took up much of her day. So many new smells and sights, not to mention tastes as she tried to snack on everything, including her big sisters food. Food was an interesting situation as our older pup Bella is a free feeding kind of dog, so the constant wrangling of food kept me on my toes. The food is what we thought might have caused the gastro upset with our new addition. Puppy tummies can be so finicky with foods and easily upset to change, we thought the stress of a new home was causing her to have such explosive bowel movements. Until she began vomiting. What seemed to be uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea which sent our little bundle of pug into a downward spiral. In just two short days in our home she was no longer a normal puppy.
Each day was a new day and I would wake with no expectations. Only the divine hope that our sweet little puppy would be alive the following morning and three kids would be spared a broken heart. She was lethargic, needy, and I prayed she would make it through each night. Her helplessness was breaking me, but I would go about my day-to-day work while nursing her back to health. Or so I had hoped.
Using a baby Tylenol syringe I would fill with water and slowly administer to this tiny little puppy resting on my seemingly large pillow. Weak and unable to stay awake, she would open her eyes just a bit to look at me, give me a little lick and then return to her slumber. I had canned pumpkin, baby food, electrolyte water, tap water and my Young Living TummyGize as my arsenal until we could see the vet. When our tiny little pug refused the infant electrolyte water I knew I had to keep pumping water in her despite the risk of continued vomiting. I could not let her become dehydrated in her weakened state and with the parvo virus running amok in her gastrointestinal system. Little did I know at the time she had parvo, my research suggested, but I was in denial. Teaspoons of baby food and canned pumpkin were offered so that she had some sustenance, she refused everything. Applying the TummyGize to her small and tender puppy belly, my hopes were that this would support her wellness enough to make her vet appointment.
Our little pug weighed in at a whopping two pounds at her first visit, down 30% of her body weight from when we brought her home. She finally stopped vomiting and her diarrhea was beginning to subside the day I took her into the vets office. They immediately removed me when I explained her displayed symptoms. As a precaution to the other animals, they had me remain in the car until her test came back. Short of tears they confirmed she had parvo. Horror stories ran through my mind as I had never heard of a puppy living to tell the tale after parvo. The vet confirmed that her death was very imminent and her presence in his office was nothing short of God’s miracle.
We discussed end of life and we discussed the most advanced of treatment including isolation, round-the-clock IV fluid administration and antibiotics. Explaining that I was okay with the outcome he did mention an at home treatment plan as an alternative. Knowing the lengths I had already reached with her at home care, his treatment plan was not anything I felt to be too extreme or anything extraordinary. Armed with a grocery sized paper sack filled with goodies, syringes large and small, I loaded up my tiny little puppy and lugged my portable trauma like triage kit home to care for this little animal.
Arriving home was the worst. I sobbed. Hopeful in front of the vet, yet realistic and stoic to the possibility of her passing I spoke to him plainly. Sharing the same news in the same stoic nature to The Chad over the phone while he was on travel for business, explaining the at home plan. I sobbed some more. I was done with all of the conversation until my kids arrived home, I sobbed like a little girl. Then I prayed. I prayed to God to save this poor puppy’s life who didn’t ask for this illness, didn’t ask for a shitty breeder, who we were blessed to have in our home and brought light to our older pup and my three kiddos. I prayed until the tears stopped streaming and I got to work caring for this little dog.
My at home arsenal of medication was an IV bag of lactated ringers, a 20cc syringe, a dozen or more 1cc syringes for antibiotic treatment, two syringes pre-loaded with anti-nausea medication and two cans of high calorie dog food. Easy enough right? Administering subcutaneous water to a fidgety puppy is like trying to wrangle twins, God gave me two arms and two hands, but Lordy did I need help.
Luckily the vet administered the first dose while in the office, however, I was on my own for the remainder of the course. Here is how we handled at home parvo care for our pug and for less than $300, including the vet prescribed care.
- 20cc subcutaneous water between shoulder blades, below the neck, every 12 hours
- .2cc antibiotics for next three days to help prevent any gut bacteria from getting out of hand (had enough for seven)
- Remainder of anti-nausea medication
- High calorie canned dog food
- Bleach everything in the home and backyard
- Still using baby syringe with water until well enough to seek water on own
- Puppy chow softened with water, suggested when interested
- Cleaned home from top to bottom with non-toxic cleaner, instead of bleach
- Washed dog blanket/bed in non-toxic laundry detergent
- Diffused Thieves throughout entire home
- Still applying favorite essential oils to abdomen 2-3 times per day
- Scoured back yard with poop patrol – cleaning all dog poo and then using pool bleach tablets as chalk to spot clean areas on concrete patio or other hard surfaces outdoors to keep virus at bay
While I would like to think that my efforts, prior to taking my sweet little pug to the vet, were what saved her, I think the culmination of everything was what nursed her back to health. Did my essential oils help support her wellness? I sure would like to think so, especially when the vet asked what I was doing because he told me she should have been deceased by the time I took her in to see him. He also said that death was a definite possibility within the following 24 hours. Yet, here we are today, a happy, healthy, energetic, eats every plant due to separation anxiety, pug-a-saurus. What have you done for any at home pet care? Have you had a run in with parvo or other life threatening health situations for your dog? What did you do?