Parvovirus and puppies :(

This has been an incredibly difficult and emotional week for me. I love to photograph pets and volunteer my services to photograph rescue dogs.

Occasionally I will foster animals if I can. We have a pretty full house already so adding additional animals to our mix can be a challenge. My senior dog, Sadie is not tolerant of most other dogs so the circumstances have to be just right. There was a litter of puppies at a local shelter. They were said to be Great Dane/St. Bernard mix puppies, however we don’t know what dad was. Do you know why we don’t know what dad was? Because mom was never spayed and had an unwanted pregnancy… along with unwanted puppies.  These puppies were uncared for and starved, then ultimately taken to a local kill shelter to most likely be euthanized. Please Spay or Neuter your pets! I can’t say that often enough!

I know that Sadie is okay with puppies because they are smaller than her and she tends to like females so I told the rescue I would take 2 female puppies of the 6 that were rescued. The day we got them we noticed they were very very thin. We weighed them at 6.5 lbs and 8 lbs. They guessed their age at about 8 weeks. Pretty darn small for a Great Dane/St. Bernard mix, but again we have no idea what dad was. One  was very, very sick and we took them to the vet the next day to  find out they have Parvo.  If you don’t know what Parvo is, here is a section take from Wikipedia

Signs and symptoms

Dogs that develop the disease show symptoms of the illness within 5 to 10 days. The symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea (usually bloody). Diarrhea and vomiting result in dehydration and secondary infections can set in. Due to dehydration, the dog’s electrolyte balance can become critically affected. Because the normal intestinal lining is also compromised, blood and protein leak into the intestines leading to anemia and loss of protein, and endotoxins escaping into the bloodstream, causing endotoxemia. Dogs have a distinctive odor in the later stages of the infection. The white blood cell level falls, further weakening the dog. Any or all of these factors can lead to shock and death.[20] The first sign of CPV is lethargy. Usually the second symptoms would be loss of appetite or diarrhea followed by vomiting.

So my week has been spent cleaning up diarrhea, vomit, and worms (yes they had worms too!). Administering antibiotics and antinausea, force feeding, and administering subcutaneous fluids to each of them daily.  There is another woman that took the other 4 puppies. Her life was double as exhausting as mine I’m sure. Honestly I can’t imagine what she’s been through. I found out last night she lost one of hers. I’ve shed a lot of tears this morning over her. Her name was Bailey and she was given the best care she could possibly get in her last days and hours of her life. Thank you Amanda for taking them into your home and loving them as they should have been loved in the first place.

Please keep the other 3 of her puppies and my 2 puppies in your prayers so that they will recover quickly and go on to live happy and healthy lives. They deserve it. Every dog deserves it.

This is Paisley. She is the most gentle and loving little girl. She was the sickest when we got her, but has been eating and drinking on her own for 3 days now.

puppy with parvo

puppy with parvo

puppy with parvovirus

This is Portia. She was pretty healthy when we got her, but has declined significantly over the past few days. These were taken before she got really sick. Right now she spends her days curled up in a ball. She’s skin and bones when I hold her. It’s heartbreaking that I can’t do more to help her.

Great Dane mix puppy

Donations for their care can be made at Just let them know the donation is for the puppies or for Scooter’s Fund (their designated medical piggy bank) and they will make sure they are applied to the current and coming vet bill. No donations are used for anything but animal care, but they can be earmarked for medical. No donation is too small!

I want to thank Crystal O’Neal and Renee of Big Dogs Huge Paws, Georgia Cameron and  Life Is Better Rescue and Rickords Animal Hospital for their help financially and emotionally in the care of these puppies. They have been a huge support system for me.  Fostering an animal is hard. I won’t deny that, but it’s also very rewarding so I don’t want to scare anyone away from fostering with my experience. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything!

So I’ll leave you with this. If you have pets, PLEASE spay and neuter them (cats or dogs). This is the only way to prevent unwanted puppies/kittens and to help prevent millions of dogs from being euthanized each year.

UPDATE 6/12/2011 – One more puppy has passed away. There are four left and all seem to be doing well at this time.  All visited the vet today and it was encouraging.  Please continue to pray for them.

Here is a picture of Paisley and Portia taken this morning…

puppies with parvo

  • Rachel Potter - Oh, Jenny! I know what a roller coaster ride Parvo can be… I am glad they seem to be coming around. Just made a donation.

  • Dana Cubbage - Oh Jenny that is heartbreaking. I know how difficult fostering can be, but just know you are doing something wonderful for these pups by getting them out of the shelter so they at least have a chance. I’ll keep them in my prayers and best of luck. Please keep us updated. They are absolutel adorable!!

  • Nicola - What an amazing cause and beautiful animals. It’s so nice to see a fellow photographer using her talent to make a difference in the lives of innocent animals. I’m an animal lover myself and this has really touched my heart.

  • Flower Mound Photography - […] Show in the picture are two puppies that I fostered (in the middle) next to their two siblings. All these puppies are parvovirus survivors and all but one have been adopted to really wonderful families. The beginning of that journey you can read by clicking here. […]

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