Module 2: The Case of the Sick Puppies

The Next Day …

It’s 4:30 pm. The tech reports to the vet that one of the 4 pups is curled up away from his littermates and does not want to get up. There are piles of vomit and bloody diarrhea in the run.


Sick puppy with diarrhea
This puppy’s symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.

The shelter vet noticed this was the puppy with the painful abdomen, soft stools, and low WBC count the day before. She examined the sick puppy.


Exam Findings for the Sick Puppy

  • Very quiet/depressed
  • Temperature = 99oF (normal range =100o to 102.5oF)
  • 8 to 10% dehydrated
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • CRT (capillary refill time) >2 sec (normal = <2 sec)
  • Heart rate= 200 beats per minute (normal = 100 to 150 beats per minute)
  • Tucked up abdomen with grunting when palpated
  • Vomited yellow bile after abdominal palpation
  • Bloody fecal material around anus and on hind legs


Following the shelter’s Canine Diarrhea Protocol, the tech performed another fecal flotation test and the IDEXX Canine Parvovirus Antigen test on the bloody diarrhea in the run. He also collected a small blood sample from the sick puppy to repeat the WBC count.


Diagnostic Test Results for the Sick Puppy

  • Fecal flotation: no parasite eggs seen
  • IDEXX SNAP® Parvo test: positive
  • WBC count (blood smear): 1 to 2 WBC per 10X field (normal range: 18 to 50 WBC per 10X field)


Bad news: the clinical signs, low WBC count, and parvo test results are consistent with canine parvovirus infection in this puppy.

Review some basic facts about parvovirus infection in this presentation:

Now that you have reviewed basic facts for canine and feline parvoviruses, test your knowledge in this quiz.


Test Your Knowledge



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