Canine Parvovirus (“Parvo”) is an infectious DNA virus that causes severe illness in young and unvaccinated dogs. It primarily affects the rapidly dividing cells of the body, meaning that the intestinal tract and bone marrow are the worst affected. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can cause rapid dehydration, and damage to the intestines and immune system can cause septic shock. Although parvovirus is most common in puppies and adolescent dogs, it can also affect adult or senior dogs, especially if they are unvaccinated. Recovery from parvovirus varies case by case, and full recovery may take quite a while depending on the severity of the disease and the damage it has done.
Backyard breeding, and the lack of proper vaccination associated with it, is one of the main causes of Parvo outbreaks. Sick puppies are often dumped at the shelters with a very small chance of survival; 15% of sick puppies will not make it, even with the best care, simply because their bodies are not strong enough to cope with the high dehydration that comes with being so ill. Despite these daunting statistics, I Stand With My Pack is determined to help as many Parvo puppies as possible, as these puppies have no one else to turn to and are completely dependent on human help. It is our responsibility to do everything in our power to be the turning point and to hold a space for them to heal. These dogs deserve their happily-ever-after as healthy and carefree puppies.
While Canine Parvovirus is not airborne, it can be found on many surfaces within the environment. It is spread by contact with contaminated feces, but feces do not have to be visible for Parvovirus to be present; the virus can live on the ground or on surfaces in kennels, on peoples’ hands, or on the clothing of people that have been contaminated. Dogs can also carry it on their fur or paws if they have come into contact with contaminated fecal material. Parvovirus can live outdoors for months, if not years, and is resistant to many disinfectants, although it is susceptible to diluted bleach and some specialized cleaners commonly used in veterinary hospitals.
In addition to the deadly Parvovirus, unvaccinated puppies and adult dogs are vulnerable to Canine Distemper, a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous system. While less commonly seen than Parvo, Distemper is another deadly virus that is able to thrive when dogs are left unvaccinated. I Stand With My Pack has rescued and provided care for 2 dogs with Canine Distemper so far this year.
I Stand With My Pack is known in the rescue community as an organization that does not shy away from helping dogs with serious medical needs. We are proud of this reputation, but it does mean that our medical costs increase significantly every year. Bloodwork, X-Rays, surgeries, and medications are expensive but necessary in order to help these dogs that need us so much.