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Parvoviral Enteritis (Parvo)

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment recommendations.

Diagnosis In-depth

Diagnostic tests are needed to recognize parvovirus, and exclude other diseases, including:

  • Complete medical history and physical examination

  • The ELISA test (CITE-Parvo TEST) The collection and testing of a stool sample is the most practical and thorough method for diagnosis. However, it is possible to get a [false] positive test 5 to 17 days after routine vaccination for parvovirus.

  • A complete blood count (CBC). This helps determine the effect of the virus on the bone marrow. In some cases the ELISA test may be negative while the blood test may point to parvovirus (usually a very low white blood count is found). In this case, your veterinarian will choose the appropriate antibiotic therapy.

  • Serum biochemistry. These tests are not specific for detection of parvovirus, but they do help your veterinarian determine your pet's hydration status, blood sugar level, kidney function and electrolyte levels. These can help determine the choice of fluid therapy and other medications.

  • Fecal tests. These are performed to exclude the possibility of intestinal parasite infestation (concurrent infection is common).

    Additional diagnostic tests may be recommended on an individual pet basis, including:

  • Abdominal X-rays to exclude the possibility of other problems such as gastrointestinal ileus (paralysis of the bowel), obstruction of the bowel, a foreign substance in the stomach or intestine or an intussusception

  • A barium contrast study, in which the patient swallows or is administered barium

  • An ultrasound, which is an alternate and noninvasive method, may be used to examine your pet's abdominal organs. An ultrasound is not useful in cases where there is build up of abdominal gas.

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