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. Sean McPeck

A 2010 Graduate of Colorado State College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Sean McPeck developed his leadership as a Sniper Team Leader and Veterinarian with the US Army Special Operations, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Dr. McPeck has multiple combat deployments, totaling almost 2 years in combat theaters of operation.

He is the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, and is Ranger, Sniper, and Airborne qualified. While serving as an officer in Special Operations, Dr. McPeck was repeatedly recognized for his Honor, Integrity, Courage and Selfless Service in the name of the United States. He was recognized with not one, but two, Meritorious Service Medals.

Under his leadership, Dr. McPeck worked with Working Dog handlers, and canine units, to detain and seize enemy combatants. The canines that Dr. McPeck worked with are credited with savings thousands of United States soldiers deployed in combat areas.

Dr. McPeck authored The RCAP, Ranger Canine Athletic Program, which was the 1st comprehensive Military canine conditioning program.

His specific training and certification classes for Dog handlers to be proficient in Canine Tactical- Combat Casualty Care, and knowledge of current medical equipment and procedures, which led to the successful life saving interventions by handlers in real world operations.

Dr. SaraRose McPeck graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. A Massachusetts native who attended Becker College for her undergrad, Dr. McPeck has lived and worked around the country and even the world. She served four years in the United States Army as a Veterinary Officer, during which she was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, and completed a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.

Her time serving in the Army provided her the experience as the primary veterinarian for over 350 Military Working Dogs, in which she provided all emergency, trauma, surgical, critical, and primary care. In addition to caring for animals, she trained, mentored, and led six Non-Commissioned Officers and twelve junior enlisted Soldiers, giving her not only impressive veterinary experience but also exceptional interpersonal and leadership skills.

As a Veterinary Corp Officer, she received a variety of awards, including a Bronze Star, a NATO Medal, a GWOT Medal, two Army Accommodation Medals, among many others. She gained experiences in which she exemplified impressive leadership skills and the ability to adapt to both clinical and combat support situations. Her years of experience serving our country and in veterinary medicine have equipped her with the knowledge and skills to provide exceptional care to our patients.