Think back to when you were last sick to your stomach and suffering from diarrhea. Maybe you had a few too many the night before, or picked up a gastro virus from your kids, or maybe ate something that was well passed its best before date. Think of how sick you felt and how awful it was – then multiply that by about a hundred and maybe you will get close to how sick the deadly Parvo virus makes a six-pound puppy.
Weston, Dempster, and Cobs arrived at SCARS late Halloween night. In addition to trick or treaters their foster home received 3 cute 6 week old puppies. Although tired from their long day they were happy and more importantly eating and drinking. A sigh of relief from their foster mom, things looked good to start.
But with puppies you have to be vigilant. Parvo has a three to 10 day incubation period and it can hit them very quickly and very hard. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy. Within 10 hours of arrival the smallest in the litter, Weston, started showing symptoms. There is no time to wait with Parvo, it can take the life of a puppy within hours. Thankfully he was under the watchful eye of his foster home and he was quickly transferred to our friends at the Westlock Vet Center. Weston has spent 6 days receiving supportive care. He is showing signs of improvement and was able to eat and not throw-up for the first time five days after being diagnosed.
As Weston showed signs of improvement the biggest pup in the litter – fluffy Dempster, began to show symptoms. Dempster went from eating and drinking and playing to unable to get off his bed in under eight hours. Five days after his arrival at SCARS he joined his brother in isolation at the vet clinic. Parvo is hitting Dempster harder than his brother and he is right now in a fight for his life. He is getting the best care possible, but this journey is never easy with no guarantees.
So that leaves little Cobs, he doesn’t have symptoms and is happily being a puppy at this time, but the odds are stacked against him. With two out of three already positive for Parvo it will be a small miracle if he doesn’t get hit with the virus. Rest assured he is being watched closely and will receive immediate vet support if symptoms appear.
All this takes a toll. Firstly, it is so hard on these tiny puppies. To be fighting for your life at six weeks of age largely because other dogs in your community weren’t vaccinated is tragic. Secondly, it takes a toll on our foster homes and medical staff. These are sweet, lovable, adorable puppies – to watch them struggle and know how serious this virus is and what the consequences might be is hard to come to terms with. Finally it takes a toll on SCARS, even with the generosity of the vet clinic, the medical bill for these puppies will be significant. We need the help of our supporters. Think back to that time you were sick and what you would have given to feel better. Help SCARS help these little babies have a chance at a long and happy life.