I am happy to welcome our new little family member Ranger! He is a beautiful Labrador Retriever that my husband and I drove 14 hours to pick up, and then 14 hours back home.
We did our breeder research, spoke with vets, and found a wonderful breeder who had been highly recommended, and had been in the business for over 30 years. We also spoke with current owners of pets from the same breeder, all with glowing praise for the breed, temperament, and facility.
I am writing this article, however, to tell you about some unknown and unseen dangers that can affect your new little loved one.
The one thing we noticed with our new little guy was his lack of puppy play. He seemed a little down, had no appetite, and I chalked it up to having separation anxiety from leaving his mom and his litter mates, not to mention the long drive. This is a decent assumption to make, but was in the long run, the wrong assumption to make.
We picked Ranger up on a Monday morning, and we were back home by Tuesday night. While Ranger slept most of the way, we noticed he was just not very active. As soon as we got him home, he was ill. His first “business” in the yard was to vomit. I thought this could be from the long drive, but noticed his complete lack of energy, eating, and drinking. While he still went to the bathroom, he didn’t do much else. Definitely not puppy behavior.
By Wednesday morning, our first morning home, he was still lacking any appetite and wanted only to cuddle up and sleep. Who wouldn’t want to cuddle with a precious puppy? By that time, however, decided it was time for him to see a vet.
We had already picked out our vet, which is very important, and I notified the breeder before I took him, so there would not be any conflict with the puppy guarantee.
The puppy guarantee: Any defects or illnesses or severe issues will be covered up to the full cost of the puppy, or you could return him and pick a new pup. (We were NOT making that trip again, and besides, we had found OUR Ranger.)
Our worst fears were realized within 30 minutes of the vet visit. Ranger had Parvo. I remember the vet walking in and asking me if we had a guarantee, and if so, we needed to use it. He then showed me his sheet of costs for the next week in the hospital if we chose to leave him there for treatment.
I must admit I was a little upset about this. Ranger was already a family member, he wasn’t just something to throw away and replace. He was our Ranger. I looked the vet square in the eye and told him to treat him. He was like a child to us, a family member, he was going to get better no matter what I had to do.
The vet let us say our goodbyes, gave me the sheet of expenses, and sent me to the front while he took Ranger for more tests and a catheter. Over the next several days, we got daily updates, and were allowed to visit Ranger briefly in the hospital.
So what is Parvo? Why is it so expensive to treat? What would have happened to Ranger if we did not treat him? I will answer number three first, he would not be here today, and that was never an option.
Parvo is a very contagious virus that all dogs are vaccinated against, usually before contact. Maternal antibodies should protect the pup until their vaccinations, but sometimes, as in this case, those antibodies are not strong enough.
Parvo is believed to have been mutated and originated in cats. Parvovirus spreads by contaminated feces, or by contact with another dog who has the virus. It presents in either a cardiac or intestinal form. The latter, which is what our little guy had, presenting with vomiting and diarrhea. Troublesome in all pets, but especially in the case of puppies because they can dehydrate very quickly.
Treatment and survival is linked to the amount of time it takes for the sick animal to reach a capable vet. Usually consisting of IV fluids, anti-nausea medications, and IV antibiotics. This can last from several days, to two weeks, and there is not a guarantee that the puppy will survive. This is where the expense comes in to play.
The hospital stay itself is expensive, but add in the IVs, tests, quarantine and isolation from other animals, need for IV antibiotics, and you have a bill that will be over a thousand dollars. Thankfully we caught the virus in time for Ranger, and although he is still on a soft food diet, he is doing much better.
The breeder is also being gracious. While he is paying for all of the vet bills as was stipulated in the guarantee, we were really more concerned with him and his business.
Parvo incubates for 3-7 days, and Ranger had caught this from his breeder’s kennel. Two other pups in his litter also were diagnosed with Parvo, and he has had them to the vet for medications, and already back home to the kennel. He’s done a great job of isolating the pups, and cleaned the kennel throughout. Parvo is a scary thing to have when your livelihood is from breeding.
What do we do now? Love our new little guy and let him finally start acting like the puppy he is. We do have to use 30 parts water to one part clorox every time he goes to the restroom for the next 10 days. This is because the Parvovirus can live in the ground for up to 7 years. We want to make sure we protect any other animals from coming into contact with this deadly virus.
I hope you found this little article was informative. Being a blogger on family fun and crafts is easy, but I wanted to make sure that I added an article about something serious our family had to go through recently. It may help you or someone you love in the future.