Sometimes we get a chance to affect real change for someone. A man came through the doors of Madison some time ago carrying a puppy. The puppy was not his and he did not have to help but some people cannot turn a blind eye, this little puppy was very lucky to have been found by such a person. This puppy had been found in a garbage can. She was cold and stiff and not responsive. Her breathing was shallow and slow, but she was breathing!
Dr Rollo and all the Madison staff who were present got to work. They wrapped the puppy in warm blankets and started IV (intravenous) fluids to bring up her blood pressure. Blood tests were run to check for disease. Puppy’s white blood cell count was dangerously low and she was positive for Parvo Virus.
Parvo is a viral disease. It attacks the lining of the small intestines where new intestinal cells are made. It causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. It can lead to a dangerous drop in white blood cell count and sepsis (when the blood becomes infected). Parvo is often deadly and there is no cure. The treatment for parvo is supportive care. We support the body systems, prevent secondary bacterial infection/sepsis and wait. Giving the body time and strength to recover and fight the virus off. With early and aggressive supportive care we can save between 80-90% of parvo cases we see at Madison.
Parvo is also extremely contagious to dogs. It is spread through the fecal-oral route. Yep, when one dog eats stool from an infected dog. Even if an unprotected dog walks through the poop from an infected dog then licks its paws. It does not take many viral particles too cause infection, and the virus can remain infectious in the soil from months. Canine parvovirus is not contagious to humans or cats. Fortunately for most dogs, the Parvo vaccine is one of the best there is. Puppies receive 3 or 4 doses of vaccine, each three to four weeks apart as part of their puppy booster series. Then regular boosters as an adult. This vaccine causes very few side effects and is so effective that we do not see Parvoviral diarrheal disease in vaccinated animals. This little puppy had obviously never had good veterinary care.
The puppy was taken in and cared for at Madison and named Winnie. She was given excellent medical care and kept warm, and clean. It took a few days for her to be able to lift up her head and a few more for her to be able to keep food down. She was kept at Madison for over a week. But she has recovered and is now a happy puppy with a good home.
During Winnie’s stay at Madison we had to take many special precautions to keep our other patients safe. She was held in our special isolation unit. Anyone who entered the isolation room wore a gown and gloves that never left that room. We kept all of the supplies and medications that were needed in the room so that our staff would not have to go in and out more times than absolutely necessary. Upon leaving the isolation unit they cleaned their shoes in a bleach foot bath to make sure that no infectious viral particles left the room. When Winnie left the hospital everything in the isolation room was cleaned, then bleached. and then the room was sealed for 72 hours.
We are all so thankful for our good samaritan who did not turn a blind eye to a helpless puppy in need. She is a fighter and a gentle hearted pup. God speed Winnie. We love you and wish you a life free from the pain that you have already experienced.