Q. My 7-week-old American Pit Bull Terrier puppy has been having the runs and throwing up for the past three to four days. I gave Pedialyte yesterday, and this morning there were four piles of feces. Shouldn’t I have given her that?
A. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea in a young puppy should send you directly to the nearest veterinarian for a parvovirus test. Parvovirus is a highly contagious infection that strips the intestinal lining of its protective cells, and destroys the immune system in the process.
Although puppies are often vaccinated against parvovirus, they can still get the disease, because the antibodies they get from their mother can interfere with the vaccine, and vice versa.
Without treatment, infected puppies will usually succumb to dehydration and infection with a high mortality rate. Treatment includes intravenous fluids and antibiotics, medication for vomiting, and nutritional support, often with many days in the hospital.
Although oral fluid supplements such as Pedialyte can be effective in re-hydrating puppies and adult dogs, if they are vomiting or have a serious underlying disease such as parvovirus, it is not enough.
If your puppy is vomiting or has diarrhea for more than one day, a parvo test should be done. Any other puppies who have had contact with your puppy should also be tested if they are at all sick.