Cocoa Bear, Dying Puppy With Parvo, Gets A New Life In Rescue!
Saturday, September 7 Wasn't Cocoa Bear's Day To Die!
I was standing at the counter at my vet's, a Banfield clinic inside our Petsmart. I was checking in Ladybug for her vet visit. A woman with a tiny sick puppy on a leash and a baby in a carrier on the floor was loudly yelling the "F" bomb to anyone who would listen. She was upset that she had to pay $85 to hear the bad news that her puppy, who had just been diagnosed with Parvovirus, was going to die without an expensive hospitalization.
She said she was going to take the puppy, a 6 pound, 14 week old SharPei/Chocolate Lab mix, and drop him off in the dropoff kennels at our local humane society. It was a Saturday night, and I knew those dropoff kennels were unstaffed. Without hospitalization and IV fluids, this puppy was sentenced to death.
I began talking with the woman while the vet staff took my Ladybug out of the area to avoid catching the virus. (Although dogs over 10 months who are up to date on shots probably won't get a major case of Parvo, they can still be infected and become quite ill). I convinced her to owner surrender the puppy to me instead of taking him to the "pound." There I stood, the leash now in my hand, trying to figure out what to do. I turned to my vet, and said "Let's get this boy treated."
At first, my thought process was that I would get the pup stabilized, then perhaps the Humane Society could find a good home for him. I made a quick phone call to our humane society and received the bad news. If the pup was Parvo positive, he would be put down instantly on arrival. OK, that was so not happening.
My next phone call was to an amazing woman I know who has volunteered with my Schnauzer rescue for many years. She agreed to "front" the hospitalization cost for me.
The puppy, whose name I changed to Cocoa Bear, was put on IV fluids within minutes. He ended up being hospitalized for four days. When a puppy has Parvo, he cannot eat or drink. The virus causes violent diarrhea and vomiting. All you can do is put the pup on IV fluids to prevent dehydration, give medications to coat the intestinal tract and prevent it from being stripped, and medications for nausea to prevent vomiting. Oh, and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. Other than that, the virus just has to run its course.
If the puppy lives through the critical stage of the parvo, it takes three weeks for the virus to be completely shed from his body. And that's a big "if" because many puppies do not survive.
There I stood, the leash now in my hand, trying to figure out what to do. I turned to my vet, and said "Let's get this boy treated."
Cocoa's New Life Begins!
Cocoa is a success story! He improved daily on the treatment. On Tuesday night I was able to bring him to my home. I'm disabled and have trouble walking, and a torrential rainstorm was occurring. We must have made quite a picture! Me, with an umbrella, carrying this little 6-7 pound puppy wrapped in blankets with a bag of prescription food and medications tied to my back! We made it to the car, made it up the 14 stairs into the house, and we both crashed in a chair for a few minutes, exhausted!
I had prepared a safe place for Cocoa Bear to recover. My grand-dog Macie, a 100-pound German Shepherd, is a frequent overnight visitor so we always keep her huge kennel out and ready. I had picked up a few toys for Cocoa but he wasn't interested in them just yet.
I discovered quickly that he preferred wet food, so mixing his three medications into the food was an easy way to get them down him three times a day. He had only begun eating the day before in the hospital, and now he was ravenous! I kept the food coming, gave him lots of lap time and love, and within two days I could tell he was really snapping out of it!
He began to show interest in his squeaky toy and ball. He served as our 5 am wakeup call daily, screaming for breakfast!
On Saturday, a week after his rescue, I took him out in the yard on a leash for the first time. He really enjoyed his half hour of sniffing everything he could find!
During all this time, I had to keep Cocoa separated from my other three Schnauzers. Parvo is spread by direct contact with the puppy and his "products" so Cocoa is either in his kennel, or my lap, or a large open "playpen" in the living room. He could see all the activity going on around him and yet be physically separated from my furkids. I had to wash my hands after contact with Cocoa every time to prevent spread of the virus. All of his accidents had to be cleaned with bleach.
Cocoa's Progress!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cocoa Meets His New Forever Mom!
My Favorite Doggie Accessories From Amazon - Rescuers Know What Works!
My favorite clippers. They fit easily in the hand and don't make a lot of noise, which the dog appreciates!
Cocoa Bear Has A New Home!
On September 19, Cocoa and I made the journey to his new forever home in North Kansas City, Missouri! Looks like he is one lucky boy!
Cut a length of this to fit your kitchen sink. When you sit the puppy or dog on it to bathe them, the non-slip surface will keep them from scrambling for footing. It works like a dream!
A Word About Parvovirus...
If your puppy suddenly develops diarrhea and/or vomiting and stops eating and drinking, this is a medical emergency! Your puppy may have parvo or another serious illness. Don't wait - if you want to save your puppy get to the vet right away! Puppies are small and dehydrate quickly. They can be gone in a day or two with frequent diarrhea and vomiting.
This stuff is awesome for keeping the dog's ears clean. Just squirt it in, massage a bit then let them shake it out.
Cocoa's Videos On YouTube! - He's getting frisky and gaining weight!
Here is Cocoa playing with his new toys!