dr. paige wallace holding puppy

Parvo: A Real Toilet Paper Emergency

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Parvovirus, parvoviral enteritis, parvo, the puppy killer… By any name, parvo causes fatigue, lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea Diarrhea DIARRHEA. Coronavirus has brought the world to its knees with a worldwide 3.4% mortality rate. For the sake of comparison, parvo has up to a 65% mortality rate. As human doctors are experiencing with coronavirus, the only thing to do is support the body’s essential needs and functions until the body overcomes the deadly virus. Hospitalization improves the survival rate of parvo cases up to 90% but that will cost you anywhere between $1,500 and $15,000. The best way to survive a virus is not to get it. Fortunately, quarantines aren’t necessary for parvo. It’s too easy to avoid because there is a vaccine available. 

Parvovirus Vaccine

The DAP, DAPP, DHLPP, and 5-way are all common names for a combination vaccine that protects your puppy and dogs from parvo, among other things. Some of these vaccines are available at farm and feed stores as well as local pet stores. So why would you pay your vet for something available over the counter? The answer is simple, you wouldn’t eat sushi at a gas station (hopefully), so don’t buy vaccines from a store. If this particular vaccine spends as little as 2-4 hours at room temperature (like being left on a loading dock), it’s ineffective; worthless. Parvovirus, on the other hand, can survive extreme heat or cold and many disinfectants, including soap and water. It’s spread by feces and can live 6 months on any surface. Imagine all the possible places your puppy could encounter it. 

Don’t Trust an At-Home Vaccination

Most puppies that come to see me for the first time have been vaccinated at least once, typically by the breeder before coming to their new home. Unless that vaccination was performed by a vet, I always recommend restarting the vaccine series. This isn’t because the breeder did anything wrong or that I don’t trust them to have performed a vaccination correctly. It’s simply not worth the risk.  You are trusting everyone that handled the product at the distributer, shipping company, and store before it got to the breeder to understand and care about vaccine integrity. The vaccine also needs to be boostered on a specific schedule before it’s effective. If you wait too long to give the booster, it’s ineffective; worthless.

Most clinics will offer something to make the cost and all the exams easier to swallow. Whether it be vaccine clinics, shelter programs, or package discounts, ask your vet, explain your budget, and we’ll try to help you out. For example, Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center offers $300 worth of savings for our puppy package. It’s designed to take you and your pup from day 1 to full protection for a year. 

Set Your Puppy Up for Success: Vaccinate Against Parvo at Tier 1 VMC

In the last 18 months, every puppy that I have hospitalized with parvo except one has been vaccinated at least once at home. Bottom line, we want to make sure your puppy is set up for success. Vets like to treat animals and heal them, but the cry heard ‘round the clinic…a positive parvo test. Everyone stops what they are doing, grieving for the sick puppy, the family in shock, and the days waiting to see if the puppy recovers. Vets hate parvovirus; we’d rather treat anything else. Do the math, avoid the risk, ask your vet.

Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center in Palmer is Alaska’s only comprehensive animal hospital. We are available for emergencies, walk-ins, and by appointment. With CT, MRI, and Ultrasound available on-site, our facility provides advanced treatment options for your pet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Paige Wallace

Dr. Paige Wallace is the Urgent Care Coordinator at Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center. Born and raised right here in the Mat-Su Valley, Dr. Wallace received her education and veterinary training through her service in the United States Army. She served as a Captain with the 218th Medical Detachment Veterinary Service Support, under the 62nd Medical Brigade. Dr. Wallace has extensive experience treating trauma cases in remote areas and with limited resources, bringing a wealth of knowledge and think-on-your-feet experience to the Tier 1 VMC team.