Every one counts

After losing their sister, Rey and Rolo overcame the odds

Rey the dogThe puppies were scared. They'd arrived just the night before, having travelled from a high euthanasia shelter in Little Rock, Arkansas to Ann Arbor, Michigan in hopes HSHV could find them homes. It was a long journey, but they'd made it, tails nervously wagging in expectation. They were three sisters in the evening. But in the morning, there were only two.

Canine parvovirus infection or "parvo" strikes fast, a nasty virus that attacks dogs' gastrointestinal tracts. quickly dehydrating them. It's easily transmitted, highly contagious, stubbornly resistant, and unfortunately can very quickly kill. For most dogs, vaccination can prevent parvo*. But puppies who haven't yet been vaccinated are highly susceptible.

There was little time to mourn Rishi; we had to move quickly to save scared siblings Rey and Rolo. In many places, parvo is a death sentence, as treatment is too intense and risk of spread is too great. Parvo positive pups need to be quarantined and continually monitored, given subcutaneous fluids and special medication, and strict protocol must be followed to prevent the spread of this contagious virus.

Of course, as with all animals, Rey and Rolo were worth the effort.

Nauseous and sick, with horrible vomiting and diarrhea, neither pup could get up-- yet both kept wagging their tails, hopeful for help. HSHV staff kept them clean, hydrated, medicated and fed, first spooning them baby food-- and when that no longer worked, hand feeding them. They needed calories and water, even though they didn't feel like taking either. And they needed comfort.

Rolo the dogAfter days of intensive supportive care, and pages upon pages of detailed medical treatments, both pups turned a corner. Their symptoms had subsided. Perky and puppy-like, both Rey and Rolo were finally wanting and eating all of their food. They'd need to still be monitored and quarantined for several weeks, but it appeared the loving care for the little German Shepherd/hound mixes was paying off. Two loving fosters stepped forward to continue their convalescence, and everyone crossed their fingers.

Three weeks later, we breathed a sigh of relief. Both Rey and Rolo tested negative for the virus.

"Rolo is the sweetest girl," said one of the foster parents, "She's very gentle and loves pats and sitting quietly nearby you. She absolutely adores people from the very moment she meets them-- including my kids. She even lies down on them to snuggle."

And in just another week -- less than a month after arriving at HSHV-- both Rey and Rolo's dreams came true, as they found their forever homes.



Rolo the dog  Rey the dog


Rishi the dog*Note from the HSHV Veterinary Clinic: Until your puppy has received his/her complete series of vaccinations, be extra cautious about visiting places where other dogs/puppies frequent (e.g., dog parks, pet stores, grooming establishments), and prevent your pup from coming into contact with other dogs' feces. And if s/he shows signs of parvo like extreme lethargy, loss of appetite, severe and often bloody diarrhea and vomiting, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.


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All images and photographs are courtesy of HSHV staff and Jeffrey E. Roush of Two Cat Studios.