Could it be Parvo

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    Help – I recently adopted a Choc lab. She came to us heatrworm positive and sailed through her treatment. This past memorial day weekend she stopped eating. On Tuesday she spent the night at the vets on an IV. Her temperature was 103.2. On Wed she was released and I was told that she had been eating. I brought her home Wed. evening and she would not eat. This morning (Thurs) she would not eat again. Also her bed was wet which leads me to believe that she had an accident. She took her morning walk fine: urinated and had a bowel movement. I brought her back to the vet this afternoon after trying to get her to eat with no luck. Her temperature was 104.8. The vet told me that all her blood work was fine with the exception of her white blood cell count. He said it was very low. She has not vomitted or has had loose stools. She was drinking water, but only if I brought it to her.

    Anyone have any ideas


    Dr. Jeff Feinman

    Anyone have any ideas

    Hi Theresa-

    Welcome to the board. I’m sorry to hear about your new dog. A few questions. How old is she? How long ago was the heartworm treatment? Does she have any vomiting or diarrhea? Any straining to urinate or frequent urinations? Is she drinking more or less than usual?

    If the heartworm treatment has been in the past few weeks I would suspect an inflammatory reaction to dead worm fragments causing the fever and lack of appetite. The low white count indicates that, for some reason, her body is not mounting an appropriate immune response. As you mentioned, viruses like Parvo can cause this. Parvo however is a disease of younger dogs so unless she is under 6 months of age it would be an unlikely diagnosis.

    Other viral infections and immune phenomena can also cause a low white count. Until you get a diagnosis I would support her with a fresh meat diet (real chicken, beef, lamb, etc.), high dose antioxidants (like Nu-Pet wafers and Antiox) and maitake extract (D-Fraction).

    Depending on the circumstances a full workup (further bloodwork, urinalysis, x-rays, +/- ultrasound and bone marrow biopsy) by a Board Certified veterinary internist may be indicated.

    Please keep us informed about what’s going on.

    Good luck.


    Dr. Jeff

    Thanks so much for a quick response. Here’s is some more information about my Choc Lab (Abby). We are unsure of her age as she was adopted from a rescue group. We were told that she is about 3 to 4 yrs old and my vet agrees with this estimate. She does has alot of gray around her muzzle, but I have read that can be caused from the heartworm or just from stress (she was found wondering the streets in Mississippi). She was tested for heartworm in Nov and was positive. Abby was put on Heartgurad as an alternative treatment. We adopted her at the end of March. She was given her heartworm injections on March 30 and 31st. On April 22 she tested negative heartworm. During her tratment we kept her very calm which was not hard to do. She is a very mellow dog. To date she has not barked which makes me wonder if her vocal cords have ben damaged nor does she know how to play.

    On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend is when she stopped eating. Her last bowel movement was on Sunday and it was normal. Also over Memorial day weekend her nose was running, but that stopped quickly and it was clear. On Monday I noticed that she was coughing a little just like when she came off the transport. We are not sure if her initial cough was from her heartworm or if it was kennel cough. There were several dogs that had kennel cough from that transport. There was also a dog with mange (the non-contagious form) and a puppy that had Spring Valley Fever which I understand is not contagiuos. Abby was coughing up bile on Tuesday. On Wednesday night when I brought her home she did this again. She was also put on Canine I/D for her feedings.

    The vet was planning on taking x-rays. I will update you later today


    I brought Abby home from the vet last night. So far she has been eating fine. She stills seems a bit tired though. I’m hoping that it is just from all that she has been through in the last couple of days. My vet thinks that she just had a virus. Her x-rays were fine and her last blood work showed that her white blood cell count was on the rise. For now, we are just going to watch her closely.

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