Once again we find ourselves on the calamitious side of fortune. We had a dog recently surrendered, Delilah, who tested positive for Parvo. So for the second time in as many months we have closed our doors to sanitize and remove the virus from our shelter. It’s a bit different this time around here at South Coast Humane Society. For one thing Delilah isn’t a small puppy. She is seven months old. Our vets tell us there is a pretty good chance of saving her without lasting, permanent health issues. Although she will need very intensive care the chances for a good outcome for Delilah are good. After last month that was welcome news. So it’s all hands on deck for our Delilah.
I would like to explain how serious Parvovirus is to our best friends and why it is so important to keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.
What exactly is Parvovirus? From the ASPCA’s own website, “Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. Parvovirus also attacks the white blood cells, and when young animals are infected, the virus can damage the heart muscle and cause lifelong cardiac problem.” Dog of any age can catch the Parvovirus, but puppies are especially susceptible. There is no cure for the virus. The only treatment is to administer antibiotics, to fight secondary infections that arise from the dogs compromised immune system, and keeping the animal hydrated. Dehydration is usually what kills an infected do so plenty of fluids and anti-diarrheal medications are a must.
Parvovirus is extremely contagious and can be transmitted by any animals or object that comes into contact with the feces of an infected dog. Although any dog at any age can contract parvo it most often infects younger puppies. In puppies it is particularly horrid. People often unwittingly transmit it on their shoes, clothing or hands. The virus can live for months in carpets and on floors. It is a very well adapted virus for the urban environment. For these reasons it is extremely important to have your dog vaccinated and keep those vaccinations up to date. Parvo can spread like a malevolent game of telephone. Hopping from person to person to person until it ends up in your home.
Please take the time to visit your veterinarian and have your dog vaccinated. South Coast Humane Society has a low cost wellness clinic on the first Saturday of each month and offer vaccinations as well. However you choose to protect your beloved doggies, please don’t delay. It’s Parvo season and it takes about 10 days for the vaccination to take effect.
I want to thank everyone who have taken the time to give your show of support, both financial to offset the extra costs of ridding the shelter of this scourge and emotional by taking the time to call or stop by with a kind word.