When Tater was brought in to Vet Ranch, he was in critical condition. Not because he had been the victim of an accident or abuse, but because he had never been vaccinated for parvo.
Tater came off the street dehydrated, lethargic, and his blood pressure was low. Basically, he needed a lot of help.
Sadly, Tater is only a drop in the bucket of dogs effected by this horrible disease. Although most pet owners know to vaccinate their pets, vaccination only keeps pups immune from the disease.
Parvo is simple to prevent with a vaccine, but difficult to treat once a pup has caught it. Once a dog has caught the disease, a vaccine can’t cure them of the virus, only rigorous medical attention can.
When the doctors at Vet Ranch met Tater, they believed his case to be hopeless.
And we could all learn something from Tater’s hopeless condition: take parvo seriously.
In the U.S., the most common disease that affects shelter pups is parvovirus. Here are some basic facts about parvo:
—First appeared in the late 1970s, parvo affects dogs who are six months or younger. Can also affect adult dogs, too. Breeds at a higher risk are Rottweilers, Dobermans, Labradors, American Staffordshire Terriers, and German Shepherds.
—The disease spreads through contaminated feces. It can also spread through contaminated objects, like toys, dog beds, food, water bowls, and clothing.
—Most common symptoms are fowl smelling diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dehydration, and even death.
The tricky thing about parvovirus is how it’s transmitted. Because it’s resistant to disinfectants, the virus can remain in an environment for up to a year. According to the ASPCA, the current strain of parvo in the U.S. is CPV-2b and CPV-2c, a strain that evolved from feline distemper (thanks, cats).
Parvo is its deadliest in shelter environments. Strains of the virus can remain in a dog’s coat even after recovery from the disease, allowing the virus to spread to other dogs.
You can see for yourself how difficult Tater struggled to overcome this dreaded virus in the video below. Don’t worry, folks. It has a happy ending. 🙂
So, as pet owners, what signs should we look for so that our pups never have a close call like Tater?
According to WebMD, the first thing you can do is be aware of your dog’s behavior. Lack of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting are not common traits for rambunctious puppies. Once you notice something is wrong, take them to a vet immediately. Because the virus can live in an environment for up to a year, use a bleach/water solution to clean any infected areas of your home. And, of course, don’t forget to always vaccinate your pups!