Parvo Watch

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If you have watched us lately you know that we have been on parvo watch.  When the MASH crew (Hawkeye, Hotlips, Radar, Klinger and Honeycut) came into hart's care, they were all furry bundles of joy.  They were dirty and smelly but as soon as they had their first bath, they were fluffy little pups with lots of energy. 

Fast forward five days and we had our first report of lethargy, mucousy diarrhea and severe vomiting.  Unfortunately, we have seen these symptoms before and Hawkeye was taken to the emergency vet immediately.  As a parvo test was being administered, we received our second call from a MASH crew foster home, Honeycut was experiencing diarrhea.  We advised that she be transported to a hart vet partner immediately.  We got the positive parvo result and made calls to the rest of the MASH crew foster families.  They needed to monitor their pups and let us know if anything presented.  

Fast forward another two days and all five dogs from the litter were at the vet fighting parvo. 

Fast forward another one day and Hawkeye was no longer with us. 

Parvo is a highly contagious viral illness that manifests itself in an intestinal and cardiac form.  The intestinal form is much more common and is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, lack of appetite (anorexia), lethargy and depression.  The majority of cases are seen in puppies between six weeks or six months old.  For some unknown reason certain breeds such as Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels and Alaskan sled dogs are particularly vulnerable to parvo. 

The intestinal form of parvo, which impacted the MASH crew affects the body's ability to absorb nutrients and an impacted dog will quickly become dehydrated and weak from lack of protein and fluid absorption.  Dogs with parvo require intensive veterinary management.  The virus itself cannot be cured, but with hospitalization dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can be corrected.  Intravenous fluids and medications to control vomiting and diarrhea are required.  In severe cases, blood plasma transfusions are administered.  Antibiotics are prescribed to prevent septicemia other complications, which are the usual causes of death. 

The outcome depends upon the virulence of the specific strain of parvovirus, the age and the immune status of the dog and how quickly the treatment is started. 

Parvo causes needless suffering and death to innocent pups.  It is completely preventable by immunizations.  The MASH crew did not have anyone to look out for them until they came into hart's care so had not received any vaccinations.  Please honor Hawkeye by taking care of your own dogs by having them immunized. 

Hawkeye was just trying to get big and strong when his life was cut far too short.  We know that we did everything to help him and are thankful that he did get to experience life in a home as well as love and affection from his foster family if only for a short period.  

Written by hart at 00:00

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