In no particular order, here are things that I found worked with the dogs.
Food. Their throats hurt, their lungs hurt and it was imperative to keep them eating. I had crock pots of chicken breasts going, ground beef and rice, Mac and cheese and sliced meats from the deli. I rotated so they would not get bored. A couple of the dogs had absolutely no interest in food so I tried rotisserie chicken and that did the trick. I shoved some yummy skin in Bacon’s mouth and he could not resist. They did not like food COLD, room temperature or warm worked the best. I wonder if it was easier on their throats.
Small Meals. I fed everyone 4 or 5 times a day and found it helped keep food down. It also assisted with the meds that required food. Once I switched to this the vomiting was only phlegm and not food.
Fresh, cold water. I rotated water buckets through my dishwasher and changed buckets every few hours to keep the freshest water in front of the dogs. I found that they always drank when the water was fresh so I put a mark on the outside of the bucket that was my “fill line” and then went through and made sure they were drinking. Water intake was crucial.
Crate pads. I had never used them before but the dogs were almost always in their crates so they were getting stiff on regular blankets. I pulled my Impact crate pads out of my car/show crates and put them down for the dogs. It was MUCH easier to clean up the phlegm and it was cool for the dogs. Every time they came out to potty I would disinfect the pads. Once I switched the dogs seemed less sore and rested more comfortable.
Crate separation I Separated the crates with sheets to keep everyone from coughing into other crates and give them each their own den. It did not assist in containing the outbreak but they seemed more comfortable.
Dim lights. For some reason they were more comfortable without the lights on so I only allowed enough light so I was not stumbling around. They seemed to be more comfortable without a light on.
Humidifier/Dryer. I had a humidifier going 24/7 and again I have no clue if it helped but they were much more relaxed with it on and also the dryer seemed to keep everyone relaxed (my dog room is in my huge mud room). I am not sure if it was just the white noise or what but Stinger especially would relax better when it was going.
Vet Plan. When Bacon crashed I was alone with no plan. That day I met with my vet and we had a plan. Knowing specific criteria to head to the State Vet made it easier for me to handle. We decided that 105 temperature was when I would leave for Raleigh. There was no guesswork, I knew clinically what I needed to look for and it was a great comfort. A communication plan was vital to me. My vet and I were emailing all the time and again this helped me stay ahead of the game.
Medications. This is not a Robitussin and Benedryl treatment. We went through 3 combinations of meds before we got the right one. When we switched cough meds that’s when my dogs health rapidly declined. You lose the cough, they cannot hold down their meds, lose the meds the fever and cough get worse and worse. That’s how you end up at 2 am with an unresponsive puppy. After that I got fluids and injectable Cerenia for the nausea. I was able to keep the dogs hydrated and stop the vomiting. Once I stopped the vomiting they kept meds down. I was able to turn them around and am now very good at giving sub-qs! (Our medications that worked were doxy and Tributurol with Hydrocodone at night)
Charting. I took everyone’s temperature twice a day. We had it down to a science. Once they had a normal temperature for 2 days we discontinued their antibiotics and then tapered their cough meds (4 times a day then 3 times a day, to morning and evening, then to just evening) I had everyone charted and then sent it to my vet. Temperatures fluctuated at first and then as they got better I could watch them trend downward.
Crate Covers WORK All of the dogs near my set up that had crate covers did not get any symptoms of CIV. An obedience dog in a crate adjacent to my set up that was in the crate maybe 20 minutes came down with the virus. Can I say for sure crate covers protected the other dogs? No. I can say all the other dogs around us that had crate covers did not get sick. I am in the process of having crate covers made for mine!