The Jones’ little Princess story - the reality of Parvovirus

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“Mummy, Princess’s not playing with her reindeer toy!” said Emily.

“What do you mean?” Emily’s mother replied.

“She’s just lying there” Emily replied.

She’s just sleeping, Mrs Jones thought to herself. “Leave her alone Em, she’s resting. She’s had a really big day with your brothers yesterday remember!”

Boxing Day had been the usual big family affair – Grandma and Grandpa over, Emily’s little cousin and lots of jumping on the new trampoline. Princess was the real hit though! Emily was already besotted with their little puppy – the best Christmas present yet thought Mrs Jones to herself. In fact, none of the kids had really left her alone at all yesterday! Even at bedtime, Princess had been snuck under Emily’s favourite quilt on her bed! 

It was a few hours later when Mrs Jones came home from dropping Emily off at day-care.

What on earth is that smell, she thought to herself? A foul pungent odour buffeted her as she opened the front door. Following the scent, she quickly walked through to the small laundry at the back of the house. There was little Princess; curled up in her new soft bed that Grandma had given to her the day before. Her once fluffy white coat was covered in black sticky poo and half a dozen frothy coffee coloured vomits littered the once clean white tiles of the laundry.

The stink was so strong she retched and held her hand up to her mouth.

Princess’s tail lifted slightly and her brown eyes looked up at Mrs Jones but this was all the energy she could muster from her little body.

“Bring her straight in”, said Dr Brown over the phone “she sounds really flat and sick and the black colour in her poo and vomit is a real worry. It could easily be blood”.

Dr Brown’s suspicions were soon confirmed once he’d examined and tested a small drop of Princess’s blood. The quick in-house test had confirmed Parvovirus.

“This is going to be real touch and go for Princess” Dr Brown informed Mrs Jones. (Parvo is a real killer, especially for young dog’s and unvaccinated dogs)

“It’s going to take at least 3-4 days of intensive care in hospital here, on fluids and strong anti-biotics and bowel protectants, before Princess has any chance of a recovery – if she even makes it!”

Mrs Jones’ spirit quailed. How on earth was Emily going to react, she thought to herself.

The following days seemed endless. It seemed like there was little change over the first three days and each evening the family had a little cuddle on Emily’s bed, hoping the next day would bring some change. It was so hard sitting beside Princess as she lay on her little hospital blanket in the isolation ward, her IV pump beeping sterilely in the background.

It wasn’t until day five before Emily gave a squeal of delight at the sight of Princess sitting up in her cage, wagging her tail.

Mrs Jones’ family were one of the lucky ones! Parvovirus kills 1-3 out of 10 dogs it infects. The key to survival is a quick diagnosis and intensive treatment.

Every year, Parvovirus outbreaks occur and even as you read this, there are cases being diagnosed every day in Adelaide – we’re about 3-4 weeks into a current outbreak. The virus particles are shed in huge numbers in the faeces of an infected dog and can survive in the environment for months and even years. It is highly contagious – even a simple lick or sniff of a dog or faeces that might be carrying Parvovirus can be enough.

It is common to see Parvo outbreaks in summer - A simple vaccination, (including a health check) provides so so much more peace of mind.

The names in the story are fictitious but the events are so real and tragic. There is nothing worse than losing a close family member under such horrible circumstances, especially when prevention is so achievable.

We highly recommend every dog is vaccinated with a C3 (Parvo, Distemper, Hepatitis) vaccine and we also recommend kennel cough and tetanus vaccinations.

If you need advice or have questions, please call our receptionists at either clinic.

If your dog is not up to date with their vaccinations, please call us to schedule an appointment to get this done. We are here to keep your pet healthy and happy. We would much rather do this than have to keep your pet in hospital for a week in an isolation ward at significant risk of death.

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