Saturday, May 7, 2011

Parvo, Puppies and Godiva

Godiva-We will miss you
Godiva came to Mostly Mutts on the 21st and was immediately put on antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection.  She was  adorable, bouncy and very cute.  She played hard and was a good little puppy, thought to be about three months old.  She slowly started getting sick and was given fluids last Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  She seemed better and even a vet who was visiting the shelter examined her and thought she was ‘okay’.  Friday, she was still sick so she was taken to the vet's office for the day to be treated.  The vet diagnosed it still as URI and nausea from the medication.  She was picked up Friday evening and had diarrhea; they tested it and it came back positive for Parvo.  So back to the vet she went on Saturday but Mostly Mutts received a call on Sunday that she had passed away.  Words can’t explain how much it hurts when a dog comes to MM and never gets a chance to find a home.

Godiva's passing will not be in vain because what happened to her can happen to any dog, especially puppies.  We want to use this blog post to educate on parvo, what it is, how it's contracted and what can be done to save your pet and family from this heartbreak.

Parvo is a virus that attacks the intestinal tract of puppies causing severe diarrhea and vomiting.  It's been around since the early '80's and is devastating because it is so highly contagious.  The virus can even live in areas for up to a year!  Parvo is spread through defecation of infected dogs and things must be bleached in order to kill the virus.  Often, both animal control and rescues deal with parvo cases and many times treatment is not successful.  Although there is a vaccine for parvo, there is no cure.  If you have a puppy, they should receive a series of shots starting as early as six weeks old and is most often referred to as a distemper vaccine.  Follow up the shot with a minimum of four booster shots in three week increments. ONLY at this time is the puppy able to safely be in areas where other dogs have defecated.

Godiva came to Mostly Mutts from an animal control facility happy and healthy.  What we didn't know was that she had been exposed to parvo at that facility and the virus was in incubation.  A week later she showed signs of the disease and within two day,s regardless of the treatment she received at the vet clinic, she passed away.

Adult dogs who have been exposed to parvo can show signs of vomiting and diarrhea but if they are vaccinated their immune system can fight the virus and they will recover without treatment.  Some puppies that get parvo can recover with fluid therapy and antibiotic treatment but it can cost well over $1000.00. Some pups are euthanized when diagnosed while some make a full recovery and won't get it again.  There is no pattern but the smaller and younger the puppy is, the more likely they will pass away.

Owners whose puppies have not completed the series of vaccines should never put their puppies on the ground where other dogs have defecated.  These areas include vet clinics, dog parks or private yards where a parvo pup has been within the last year.  Most folks aren't aware that their puppies can pick up the virus just walking into a vet clinic.  Make sure you carry your puppy whenever they are in a public area.

Parvo is a devastating disease and there are many different strains of the virus.  Some strains are mild and some are certain to lead to death.  Mostly Mutts recommends keeping puppies and adult dogs updated on vaccinations to protect them against parvo and preventing your puppy from being exposed by keeping them home or safe into fully vaccinated.

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