Friends & Neighbors: Dakin Assists in Emergency Parvo Treatment

Just as the Dakin team was packing up after a busy day, they got a call with urgent news.

Earlier that afternoon, Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center took in a litter of six Shepherd puppies. Shortly after they arrived, staff became suspicious that the puppies may be suffering from parvovirus based on their symptoms.

Parvovirus (parvo) is a viral disease that attacks the gastrointestinal systems of puppies and unvaccinated adult dogs. It is highly contagious and is transmitted through dog-to-dog contact, contact with contaminated canine stool, and contact with contaminated surfaces. The disease has a mortality rate of over 90% when left untreated.

The litter of puppies tested positive for parvovirus, a crushing blow to any shelter that’s already overwhelmed with animals who need their help.

At first contact, that’s all the information the Dakin team had to go on, but within minutes, PPE (personal protective equipment) and supplies were loaded into staff vehicles and off they went to TJO.

Dakin arrived at TJO and greeted our longtime friends, some of whom were on a call with MSPCA Boston, who graciously agreed to take the puppies the following day and provide the intensive care needed to hopefully save their lives.

The puppies were in rough shape, and when it comes to parvo, every hour counts. A makeshift exam area was set up outside the puppies’ kennel to lessen the risk of spread outside of the immediate area. Every person played an important role as the puppies were examined, and started on medications.

The puppies were made comfortable and survived overnight thanks to the support and teamwork of everyone involved. Mary Jane McGuire, Dakin’s Manager of Veterinary Services was among those who responded. She said, “It is just a wonderful example of what I love about my coworkers and what it means to work in this field. There are times when you are depleted and don't have anything left to give, but someone steps in to help you. There are times when you are the one that is well-rested, energized, and in a good place, and you can take something off of someone else's plate.”

The puppies were successfully transported to MSPCA Boston the following day, where they received around-the-clock intensive care for nearly two weeks. As five of the puppies began to turn a corner and regain their strength, one puppy, Lime, began to decline rapidly and his lab work revealed the true severity of his illness. The veterinary team working to care for these puppies had to make the very sad decision to perform humane euthanasia. In a Facebook post, they said, “Parvovirus is a very dangerous illness for puppies, and when we took the puppies in, we knew that saving them all would be a challenge. Even so, we had to do everything we could to try. We were very hopeful, but sometimes with even the best treatment, a puppy just won't respond to treatment how we'd like them to.”

We are saddened by Lime’s passing and thank MSPCA for their tireless and extraordinary efforts to do everything they could, even when faced with such difficult odds.

The remaining five puppies were able to fully recover from parvovirus and find loving homes through MSPCA.

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