Over the past 24 hours, we have been inundated with offers to help our Parvo ICU and we are so sincerely grateful. This unit is near and dear to my heart because it started in my house before APA! had a building. I know first-hand how hard of a job it is and how overwhelming it can seem when the puppies need so much care as well as medical treatment in order to survive. Since those early days, the Parvo ICU has treated a whopping 5,200 puppies with a live release rate of 85%, which is often better than even what private practice can achieve!
Before I tell you what we need, I’ll share some medical info: There is no “cure” for parvo, it has to run its course. That means that our job is to keep the puppy alive while they are vomiting blood and having bloody blowout diarrhea until the disease is over. The treatment cannot typically be done orally because the virus causes the intestinal lining to slough, and not be able to absorb water or medicine until it starts to heal again. That means that each puppy requires intravenous or subcutaneous (under the skin) fluid therapy to combat the dehydration, as well as administration of anti-nausea medications to slow the vomiting and fluid loss, and antibiotics to prevent sepsis from bacteria in the gut getting into the bloodstream due to the intestinal bleeding. This all has to happen at least 2-3 times a day until the puppy can hold down food again. They cannot go outside of their kennel to potty because the poop is contagious until they test negative.
The only saving grace is that the virus is over very quickly, usually within 3-5 days, and the happy, playful puppy personalities re-emerge from the shell of themselves that they were when they were sick. But… This is actually the second phase of messy. They are happy, jumping around, AND eating well (so, of course, pooping well again). As soon as a puppy tests negative, usually within 48 hours of eating food again, we can move them out of the ICU and ideally into foster or adopter homes.
When people ask how they can help, I honestly have trouble answering because the list is so long, but here goes:
Austin Pets Alive! is an organization built by the power of individuals. Every small or large action that someone takes contributes to the mountain of work that we have to overcome every year to make sure that every pet in Austin, and even pets from beyond Austin, get a fair chance at life.
Thank you for supporting the work we do.