Woman forced to give up pup warns oth­ers about virus

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION - THIA JAMES [email protected]­media.com

SASKA­TOON A Saska­toon mother whose dog re­cently be­came ill with par­vovirus says she had to give him to the Saska­toon SPCA since she was un­able to pay for the ve­teri­nary bill.

Sh­eryl Ja­cobs, whose black lab-bor­der col­lie cross Rocky started to show signs of a par­vovirus in­fec­tion on Sun­day, put him in the care of SPCA emer­gency work­ers after she tried to find him af­ford­able care but couldn’t. The virus has re­cently resurfaced in Saska­toon.

“I wasn’t aware of the dan­gers,” Ja­cobs said Fri­day. Dur­ing Rocky’s time with her, he hadn’t re­ceived a par­vovirus vac­ci­na­tion. She said she hopes no one else goes through some­thing like this, and that other pet own­ers should get their dogs vac­ci­nated.

Rocky be­came in­fected the same week the Saska­toon SPCA made a pub­lic plea for dog own­ers to get their pets vac­ci­nated against par­vovirus after tak­ing in an­i­mals that were ill with the virus. By mid­week, the SPCA was still car­ing for a cou­ple of in­fected pup­pies.

Dog own­ers should watch for symp­toms as­so­ci­ated with par­vovirus, such as lethargy, vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhea and loss of ap­petite. Own­ers who no­tice these symp­toms are en­cour­aged to take their dogs to a vet­eri­nar­ian as soon as pos­si­ble.

Rocky started to show symp­toms last week­end.

Ja­cobs said she be­came wor­ried about his health on Satur­day after he got a hold of a small wrapped choco­late ball and ate it. She took him to a dog park for some air — a place they vis­ited a few times be­fore. He seemed fine that day and ate nor­mally after they got home, she said.

On Sun­day, he be­gan to vomit and de­vel­oped di­ar­rhea. By Mon­day, he started to “act lazy,” she said.

Ja­cobs turned to so­cial me­dia to ask for home reme­dies for choco­late in­ges­tion. Un­til then, she hadn’t heard of par­vovirus.

She took him to the an­i­mal hospi­tal at the West­ern Col­lege of Ve­teri­nary Medicine, where she said staff tested Rocky in her vehicle. After a 20-minute wait, she was told he had par­vovirus.

Ja­cobs learned that the to­tal cost for Rocky’s ve­teri­nary care could be $1,500-$2,000.

Ja­cobs said she at­tempted to ap­ply for a sub­si­dized city program that con­nects low-in­come res­i­dents to low-cost ve­teri­nary care — the Sub­si­dized Spay and Neuter Program, which in­cludes vac­ci­na­tions. The program wasn’t ac­cept­ing new ap­pli­cants un­til this month, how­ever.

“I thought I had time, I’ll get it done, I’ll (file) an ap­pli­ca­tion form in Jan­uary and you know, take him to the vet to get him fixed,” she said.

Be­fore week’s end, SPCA emer­gency care work­ers picked up Rocky. Ja­cobs told them she didn’t want to know if he had to be eu­th­a­nized. She said she likes to be­lieve he’ll be saved.

Par­vovirus, an in­fec­tious dis­ease that af­fects dogs of all ages, is rel­a­tively com­mon, a West­ern Col­lege of Ve­teri­nary Medicine clin­i­cian said.

Dr. Karen Shee­han, a clin­i­cal as­so­ciate at the WCVM, said the col­lege sees it on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and it tends to spike in the spring and fall, when dogs typ­i­cally come into heat and have lit­ters. It most of­ten in­fects pup­pies.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the virus is very hardy, and in this en­vi­ron­ment it can sur­vive up to a year, even in the cold tem­per­a­tures that we have here,” Shee­han said.

In­fected dogs face a 90 per cent sur­vival rate with ag­gres­sive treat­ment, and if it’s caught in time, she said. Treat­ment may mean a hospi­tal stay of sev­eral days.

“Def­i­nitely the virus can be fa­tal, es­pe­cially if it’s un­treated,” she said.

Dogs can con­tract par­vovirus from the fe­ces or vomit of an in­fected an­i­mal.

The best de­fence is vac­ci­na­tions, Shee­han said.

Usu­ally, pup­pies are vac­ci­nated at eight, 12 and 16 weeks, then re­ceive a booster shot a year after their last shot. It’s also rec­om­mended that they be vac­ci­nated ev­ery three years after that.

Comments

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.