Signs of Illness...

    Worst case scenario your puppy is exposed to and contracts a communicable disease before they are fully vaccinated. The further along they are with their vaccinations, and the earlier you recognize the illness and get puppy medical treatment, the greater their chances of survival.
One of the first signs of illness is loss of appetite. While every puppy will skip a meal every now and then, if they refuse to eat two meals in a row, this is definitely cause for concern. If you suspect puppy is loosing their appetite, offer canned food or even canned tuna or chicken/chicken broth (something puppy does not eat every day and is a treat for them). If puppy gobbles it down they are probably OK. If they refuse to eat or just kind of pick at it, monitor their behavior and try offering again in a couple hours.

   How is puppy acting? Are they their usual active, playful self? Are they somewhat lethargic, less active, laying down or sleeping more than usual?

    Another thing to monitor is puppy's stools. They should be firm to somewhat mushy (consistency of mashed potatoes). Dewormings, stress, and change of diet often cause loose stools in puppies, but those gradually improve (within a few days) and are not usually accompanied by other symptoms (such as lethargy and loss of appetite). After a deworming treatment, you may see tiny drops of blood or even worms in the stool. This is normal. Lots of blood is not normal. If stools are extremely loose, have an unusual color or odor, and you are seeing other signs of illness please take puppy to the vet immediately.

    Think about where and who puppy has been around in the last 3-5 days. All viruses have an incubation period (the period of time from when the virus enters the body to the time when the body begins to show signs of illness). Parvo is 3-5 days, corona is 24 hours, distemper is longer. During this time the virus replicates and multiplies in the body and if puppy cannot mount an immune response the virus will take over and puppy will decline rapidly. IV fluids and hospitalization are the best chance puppy has of survival. If it is caught early enough and it is almost time for puppy's next set of shots, your vet may choose to vaccinate. This will give puppy an immune boost and improve their ability to fight of the virus. It is also possible to treat puppy at home if caught early enough, but it will require around the clock care. I could go on for pages and pages, but if you or someone you know ever find yourself in this most unfortunate situation, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be there for you to offer our advice and guidance based on our previous experiences. It is an extremely difficult and painful experience to go through and we hope no one ever has to.