Helping Rescue Puppies With the Parvo Virus

helping-rescue-puppiesLittle did I know six weeks ago, I would learn firsthand about rescued puppies and their struggles. Now I personally experienced the results of a puppy mill breeding and conditions.

My friend Denise asked me to let her dogs out while she helped in a huge dog rescue from northern North Dakota. Over 80 dogs were voluntarily surrendered from a very poor situation to many rescue groups. Denise thought she was getting was a mother dog and eight four-week old puppies. She had raised several litters in the past, and knew she could handle the mother dog and puppies. Her biggest concern was how her female yellow Lab would accept the mother dog.

The day of the surrender, the person decided to keep the mother dog because “she was sick and would die soon.” Everyone thought it was just an excuse to keep a dog for breeding. No “bells” went off. The eight puppies survived a very long day as they were transported from northern ND to Fargo, ND and then Minneapolis, MN. The four-week old Golden Retriever puppies did great. RAGOM, Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota, volunteers were ready to help Denise.

All was well for the first few days. Quickly several of the puppies got sick with diarrhea and vomiting. The sick puppies were separated and tested positive for Canine Parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that attacks the intestines and can affect the heart. Parvo spreads through the dog’s feces. Unfortunately there is no cure for Parvo and either Parvo or a secondary infection can kill the dogs.

Eventually all the puppies showed the signs of the horrible virus. All eight of the puppies were first treated at VCA All About Pets in Golden Valley, MN and then moved to the ICU at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital. Not a stone was left unturned in trying to help all these beautiful puppies. All the volunteers were diligent about washing their hands, wearing booties on their shoes so not to spread the virus, and washing their clothes in a bleach solution when they got home. All towel, blankets, and toys were washed in the bleach solution. Denise used aromatherapy and TTouch® with the puppies. I energetically cleared the puppy room using Healing Touch for Animals®, energy medicine like Reiki, and tuning forks. Denise played soft music to calm the puppies – nothing was spared.

At 5+ weeks old, Ali lost his fight against the horrible virus. He was followed across Rainbow Bridge by Pacelle, his brother at 6+ weeks old.  Lwood spent 9 days in the ICU fighting the virus and looked like he was going to beat it. Then he started vomiting again – his esophagus was damaged and he couldn’t swallow. He spent another day in ICU and RAGOM decided to give him a feeding tube in hopes of healing his esophagus. Lwood was feed every four hours and I help him during two feedings. The squirmy guy quickly relaxed as I did TTouch® and Denise carefully feed him by the feeding tube. Lwood was playful and full of life as he played with his siblings – he wore an infant’s onesie and a puppy life jacket to protect his feeding tube.  Unfortunately he had complications and joined his brothers across Rainbow Bridge at 8 weeks.

The other siblings Rona, Qigley, Hank, Ardis, and Kitra are thriving puppies. When they are ready, they will be going very special homes. RAGOM has worked so hard to help these puppies survive. I heard they spent over $30,000 to help these puppies become healthy and are accepting donations to help pay the veterinary bills.

These puppies, especially Lwood, have a special place in my heart and many other people’s hearts. Please be sure your dog(s) are current on their vaccinations or titers. For more information on how you can help stop inhumane breeding in Minnesota, Animal Folks MN are a wonderful source in Minnesota. Please check with your state for other organizations helping animals.

Update March 14, 2011: Rona, Qigley, Hank, Ardis, and Kitra are going to their forever homes by the end of March after treatment for sarcopic manage (scabies) and being altered!


  1. Shelly says

    Such a sad but comforting story. We just bought a 7 week old pure bred black lab puppy on October 4 from a breeder in Northern Minnesota. He was asking a decent price, but he was extremely strange. He lived on a farm and be bred labradors and yorkies. But all the dogs were in hiding. He said he had 12 adult labs that he bred, but they were all out of sight. He only brought out the puppies which was a litter of 10, there were 9 left. I made my choice and I started asking him questions about when the pup had his shots and when does he need to go to the vet next etc.. The breeder told me to leave and not take a dog- he said go home and think about it and you can come back if you want. I explained we want the dog, but we just need to know what the pup has had done.
    From here on the guy was just crazy but we ended up paying for the dog and got the heck off of his property. We got home by 5:30 pm. By 1:30’am the pup woke up and was having diarrhea. It continued numerous times, then he started throwing up clear liquid. He wouldn’t eat. We thought maybe it was just nerves. By 11:00 he passed diarrhea with a large amount of blood. I immediately called our vet that we use and he told me to rush the pup in. Found out the poor thing had parvo. I had never even heard of this. Vet explained it to me. Said it was the levels he had seen on a test and there was still 3 minutes to go yet on the test. We were so broken hearted. We got scammed!! That breedder knew exactly what he was doing! I called the breeder before I brought the pup to the vet and be went crazy on the phone telling me not to bring him to the vet, that he will come and pick up the pup.’and I kep telling him no he is our dog now, he is going to the vet. And he just got more and more angry and repeatedly told me not to bring him to the vet. But I did. So we had this poor little pup for only about 20 hours. And most of that time he was so sick. He could barely keep his eyes open. It broke our hearts. So now I’m doing this research to find out more about this deadly killer. Not only that but we want to get another lab puppy-‘this time we will do our homework and we know we have to completely bleach everything. We already did the outside. I guess the only positive thing was on the inside of the house the pup was confined to smaller areas. Good luck to anyone who’s baby gets this terrible illness.

  2. Elaine says

    Shelly, I am so sorry you had to experience the horrors of Parvo. It is very important that every dog gets is parvo shots. I wish you luck with finding a wonderful puppy from a reputable breeder or shelter. A reputable breeder will show you the puppy’s parents.

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