One of our volunteers was visiting the local humane society to adopt a bunny one day when she noticed someone in the parking lot walking around with a very skinny little puppy and asking where to surrender her. We know the humane society does not have the best live outcome rates, and since she knew the puppy would be happier in a foster home rather than a shelter, she asked if she could take her. The owner said no problem and handed over the leash. She mentioned that the dog liked to drink water, which the volunteer found odd.
She brought her home and set her up in a bathroom. When she gave her food, she was surprised the emaciated dog wouldn’t eat. She did drink, however. She drank so much water that she puked it back up shortly after.
She brought her in right away to our veterinarian, who immediately said it could be parvovirus. He did a snap test and, sure enough, she was positive.
Parvo is an extremely contagious and extremely preventable disease that is almost always fatal if treatment is not given. Preventing parvo is as easy as keeping your dog up to date on vaccines. It is especially important to vaccinate your puppy when she is young as that is when her immune system is most sensitive. If a dog is unvaccinated and walks on the same sidewalk as a dog who has parvo, or visits the dog park and a dog has parvo there, they can easily catch it. Dogs who recently have been exposed to parvo may not show any signs of illness, even if they could later die from the disease. And everything they touch can be infected for years with the disease unless treated with a cleaner like bleach or parvosol. Parvo starts to show by lack of appetite, fever, and lethargy. They may start to experience vomiting and diarrhea, which is often bloody. They need immediate and costly treatment in order to survive. Read more about parvo here: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/parvovirus
We named our new puppy Rosie. She was in the fever/lack of appetite/lethargy stage of the disease, which quickly progressed to the bloody vomiting & diarrhea stage. Thankfully we have a wonderful veterinarian who treated her with IV fluids, antibiotics, and anti-nausea & diarrhea medications around the clock and we quickly started to see improvements in her health.
After about a week, Rosie was well enough to go to her foster home with new foster mama Hope!
The great end to this story? Soon after, Rosie caught someone’s eye on Facebook. And not just someone, but a friend of the rescue! She was quickly adopted and joined their happy family.
We ran into Rosie, now Tacey, a little while later at the vet’s office and look at what a gorgeous and happy girl she has become!
Please take time to educate pet owners you may know about the importance of vaccination for their dogs and cats. Tacey was very lucky — had she made it into the humane society, they would have immediately put her down. So many others are not lucky and die in the shelter and in their homes due to this illness. Low-cost vaccine programs are available, so if cost is the issue it should not be. Contact our rescue if you have any questions about local resources for pet vaccination.