A new parvo puppy treatment with 90% odds caught my attention this week. While I have not had the pleasure of visiting the Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) Parvo Puppy ICU in Austin, Texas, it was described to me in detail including the truly miraculous healing rates this amazing shelter produces on a bare-bones budget.
Just entering the facility is a serious undertaking. The door of the ICU is kept locked. A foot bath takes the place of a welcome mat. Street clothes must be exchanged for scrubs, and anyone entering is advised to think of the ward as Vegas: "Whatever is brought into the ward stays in the ward."
All of these precautions must be taken because canine parvovirus, or parvo, is a highly contagious and potentially deadly virus. In a shelter environment such as APA!, it's important to protect the other shelter residents from getting sick. Most adult dogs are already protected through vaccinations, but puppies aren't as lucky.
Within the cheerful lime-green walls of the ward are eight cozy, closet-sized rooms housing individuals or siblings at various stages of the illness. Some of the sickest puppies sleep on heating pads, wrapped in a bundle of blankets. Recovering puppies sit up and give a swish of the tail and a prick of the ears as caretakers pass by the glass doors. Others show off how well they feel by wiggling and pouncing.
These youngsters have no idea how lucky they are to be here!
In almost any other shelter in the United States, a positive result on a parvovirus test is essentially a death sentence, and not just because the virus has a reputation for claiming 50% of its victims; parvovirus is also believed to be expensive and time-consuming to treat. Shelters typically cut to the chase and euthanize the sickly puppies without attempting a course of treatment. Hundreds upon thousands of puppies die this way every year.
But the good folks at the APA! parvo puppy treatment ward don't approach animal sheltering in the typical way. The organization's ultimate goal is to prevent the needless death of shelter animals in the city of Austin. If a sick dog dies without being provided medical treatment, the lingering question is "Would he be alive today if only he had been treated?"
The success of the Parvo Puppy ICU validates the question. As many as 90% of the puppies treated in the ICU at APA! have, in fact, recovered.
The first of its kind in the country, the Parvo Puppy ICU at APA! has treated over 1,800 parvo puppies since 2008. Pioneering veterinarian Dr. Ellen Jefferson created a streamlined, cost-effective way of treating the disease within a busy shelter environment. Dr. Jefferson reports that mild and moderate cases usually require less than $100 worth of supplies, which is considerably less than the thousands of dollars accrued through the services of a private 24-hour veterinary hospital.
Dr. Jefferson's model is surprisingly simple and feasible for other animal shelters to implement. Shifts of trained volunteers, including many eager pre-med students at a nearby university, administer basic treatments under the supervision of the shelter's regular vet staff. Because parvovirus attacks the lining of the digestive tract and causes terrible diarrhea, treatment typically includes sub-cutaneous fluids and antibiotics.
As soon as a parvo test is negative, which often occurs one week after admittance, the puppies undergo a decontamination procedure. Parvovirus pathogens primarily spread through feces but can also cling to fur, so baths are required. The wriggly pups get scrubbed nose-to-tail not once but twice. They also receive the manicure of a lifetime -- paw pads and nails cleaned with a toothbrush to ensure no contaminated fecal matter remains in any nook or cranny.
All puppies then return to the main part of the shelter, eager to begin their second chance at life and ready to become a loving part of someone's family. 100% of puppies that receive the Parvo Puppy Treatment are adopted.
With a little creative thinking and an unbeatable spirit, APA!'s revolutionary Parvo Puppy ICU has done what was long thought impossible: successful parvo puppy treatment in hundreds of shelter pups without breaking the bank. These miracle workers deserve our deepest appreciation and financial support if at all possible. Imagine the number of puppy lives saved if shelters across the country did the same.
P.S. If canine Parvovirus strikes your puppy or adult dog, start him on our Emergency Hydration Tea immediately, then order our safe and effective parvo herbal remedy, Primalix PV. FedEx will rush it to you overnight.