I first met Pippa several months ago after she and her siblings were abandoned in a local neighborhood. The family that took Pippa in grew concerned after she stopped eating, rapidly lost weight, and began vomiting and having diarrhea. After an examination and labwork, I was forced to break  the bad news – Pippa was suffering from parvovirus, a potentially fatal viral disease causing the inner lining of the intestines to slough. When this occurs, the puppy is no longer able to absorb nutrients. Unfortunately, this condition requires extensive treatment and hospital care that this family was just not able to take on, deciding instead to allow me to assume ownership so that she could receive the necessary care.

At this point, I had already fallen in love with this puppy. Despite her poor, weakened condition, I knew that she could someday make a great pet for someone. She responded very well to treatment and gradually returned to full health. A few weeks later, she was adopted by Shelbe, a pre-veterinary college student and part-time member of our kennel staff. Shelbe is back to work during the holidays, giving me an opportunity to see Pippa for her spay surgery today. She has grown into an extremely playful and active farm dog and is doing extremely well.

While Pippa’s story certainly had a happy ending, many other puppies are not so lucky. Parvovirus is an extremely deadly disease that can be prevented by simple vaccine boosters administered between 7 to 16 weeks of age. If you have or are considering a new puppy, please discuss vaccine protocols with your veterinarian.


-Dr. Mac