Friday, August 3, 2012

On Vigil

The Parvo horror has us all on edge, and interfering with our ability to grieve for our beloved boy.  As with anything that crosses our path, I've tried to put together as much research as possible as well as doing all we can to prevent a re-occurance.  This disease is probably the most horrible to ever have to deal with.  It is incredibly contagious, is active in the soil for at least 7 years and has a very high mortality rate in the young and old.  If this was a human disease, it would have been worse than the 1918 flu epidemic, but like flu, the parvovirus is a constantly evolving virus that defies the complacency of vaccination.  Since 1970, there have been 4 known mutations, the base virus, strain a which primarily attacks the digestion (the most mild version still breaks down the walls of the intestines and causes severe hemorhaging in the young and old.  It is the blood in the intestines and stomach that causes the 'parvo smell'), strain b which primarily attacks the organs and bone marrow (the most deadly strain prior to), strain c which does both and defies previous vaccination, is virulent in adults as well as the young and old, though is still considered more mild in healthy adults, it still has an unacceptably high mortality rate.  Like too many of the folks I know that own kennels I found myself horrified over the lack of information that was passed along to me regarding Parvo.  This disease is far worse than I had ever imagined, and should be required research for everyone who aspires to own a kennel. 

What I find is shocking that not very many people know just how utterly contagious this disease is, how long it can contaminate the very land on which your kennel stands, and just what can be done to help these poor animals that contract the disease.

For instance I had never heard that there is as big a danger of overhydrating a parvo dog as there is for dehydration!  This makes me wonder how many dogs died because of overhydrating and were mistakenly assumed it was because the virus made the heart too weak to continue!  I've agonized over this fact for many hours.  In my research I learned that yes, the virus does attack the heart, but heart failure can be prevented if, after a bowel movement and the dog becomes very weak, no fluids are given for 4 hours because the excess fluids strain the heart to collapse.  Was this what happened to Bandit, or was it truly the virus that stopped his heart?  I've also learned that simple things like anti-inflammation aids for the intestines can mean the difference between life and death.  A very simple solution like Tamiflu can save your puppy or dog, yet how many vets know and prescribe this?

There are so many things that even people with experience with Parvo didn't know that I've found in researching this virus that it makes me very sad this information isn't general knowledge.  If it were, there might be far less deaths with this terrible disease.  I've also learned that only two things can kill the virus, one is bleach and the other is a product called Kennel Klean.  But even with these aids, cross-infection is nearly inevitable.  Flies, clothing, skin contact, birds, small animals, other insects etc can all carry the virus and deposit it where it can be ingested in addition to contact with an infected dog.  The incubation period can be as little as 3 days or as many as 16, and any time during incubation your dog will not test positive on a parvo test, but may still carry the virus.  It will only show up once they start throwing up and having diarrhea, and by then it is almost too late!  Every second counts.

I've found a product I am currently using to help the rest of my pack ward off this terrible disease and praying this is going to work.  I've done a lot of herbal remedy research in the past, and the contents of this concoction appear sound to my research, mints to aid digestion, anti-inflammatories, anti-microbials, essences to help with diarrhea, etc.  The stuff is called Parvaid, and is used in conjuction with another product Vibactra both manufactured by Amber Tech.  I found out about this product from recommendations from a few kennel owners who have used it not only to nurse several litters of parvo puppies back to life, but to prevent secondary infections in their kennels.  So far this stuff appears to be a godsend.  The dogs I feared were acting as if they were coming down with it/had a temperature and beginnings of lethargy appear to have shook it off in a matter of hours after the first dose.  After the fourth dose of parvaid and 2nd dose of Vibactra, all our dogs appear to be bright eyed and energetic again.  After all my looking in to this horrid disease, I was skeptical this stuff would help, but now I wonder why its use isn't so widely spread?  How many dogs might have survived had the owners had this stuff on hand?

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