Public needs more education on Parvo

I was so annoyed/outraged/befuddled when I read the comment. I couldn’t believe people could be so – unknowledgeable. Yet another puppy with parvo virus had landed at a local shelter, which was using its social media channels to try to find a rescue to give the pup any hope of survival. Someone suggested that Kreitzer’s Critter Corral Puppy Rescue just take the puppy because they were already managing parvo puppies at the time anyway.

So no big deal, right? Wrong!

I thought to myself, do these people really not know how much work parvo involves, trying to contain the spread and being hyper vigilant with bleaching everything? And just how expensive a single parvo puppy can be to vet — with no guarantee of the pup surviving?

I talked myself out of leaving a snarky comment, because as satisfying as that can sometimes be, it doesn’t change anything. And we need change. But that can’t happen unless people are willing to listen.  And the general public really needs more education on parvo if we’re to stop it!

What is Parvo?

Parvo is a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus that usually affects young puppies, but can also make unvaccinated adult dogs sick. Just this summer alone, local rescues, including Kreitzer’s Critter Corral Puppy Rescue, Carolina Boxer Rescue, Faith, Hope & Love Animal Rescue NC, and Piemont Animal Rescue, have taken in puppies with the parvo virus.

How is it spread?

What are the signs of Parvo?

Signs of parvo include loss of energy and appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea, often with visible blood in the stool. As you’d expect, parvo is very rough on puppies. They have to fight hard to overcome it, and some simply can’t despite their best efforts.

Liz Kreitzer of Kreitzer’s Critter Corral Puppy Rescue comforting Jed, one of the parvo puppies the rescue took in in July. He passed away shortly after.

Don’t try to treat Parvo without veterinary guidance!

How do I prevent parvo?

The number one way to prevent parvo is to have your puppy vaccinated against it. One major myth I’ve seen in rescue is that a lot of people think one set of puppy shots fully protects their dog from parvo, and that’s not true. Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks always advised that puppies stay away from unknown dogs and out of dog parks and public areas until after their fourth set of puppy shots (when the puppy is about 4 months old).

That wasn’t always a popular opinion, because, of course, everyone wants to show off their new puppy, take it to the breweries and parks, and start socializing it. But parvo is nothing to play around with, so as hard as it may be, we encourage you to get all your puppy’s shots first.

Reality of Parvo and Rescues

Parvo treatment, spread management, and clean up involves a lot of work on the part of rescues and their volunteers, and is very costly to treat, sometimes climbing into the thousands of dollars, especially if a rescue is treating a whole litter of infected puppies.

Rescues are already short on funds and foster homes, and many loyal fosters, myself included, are scared of parvo. I love puppies and puppy fostering, but ask me if I’ll take a known parvo puppy, and I’ll say “no” every time.  I’d be forever worried that I missed bleaching one blanket or shoe, and now another puppy is subject to contracting parvo down the line.

A healthy puppy is a lot of work — but a parvo puppy, or a litter of parvo puppies, is 100x the work! That’s not the worst part — the worst part is watching what would have been a healthy, bouncy puppy go downhill after a couple days of dealing with intense vomiting and bloody diarrhea that could have been prevented.

Please be part of the solution and VACCINATE!

For additional information on Parvo virus

To financially contribute to any of the rescues with Parvo puppies

Visit their respective Facebook pages [found at the top of this article]. Any amount helps and allows the rescues to keep showing up for the puppies and dogs most in need.

Article by Timina Stengel, Foster/Adopter/Rescue Advocate

Puppy photos used with the permission of Liz Kreitzer, Director of Kreitzer’s Critter Corral and Puppy Rescue.

Timina Stengel

Timina is the full time Personal Assistant/Mom to her rescue pitty Stella. She also has two human teenagers and works as a content strategist.

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