Seven purebred Labrador puppies were saved by a new parvovirus treatment program at the Pima Animal Care Center.
Parvovirus can be prevented by a vaccine, but it's a highly contagious disease that is deadly if not treated quickly. The virus can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and life-threatening dehydration.
The labs were brought in by a breeder who had not had them vaccinated. Dogs infected with parvovirus need to be isolated, and need special medical treatment.
"In past years we didn't have any options for these dogs," said Karen Hollish with PACC. "Parvovirus is extremely contagious, so we couldn't expose the other dogs in our shelter to it."
Each year around 300 dogs with parvovirus are brought to PACC. A $10,000 dollar grant gave volunteer foster parents what they needed to nurse the puppies back to health. The grant is from the Friends of PACC
, a project fund of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.
The labs are about two months old and were taken care of by a foster parent for five days. All of them have now been adopted. Treating each of them costs about $100 each.
"These dogs need fluids, anti-nausea injections and antibiotics," Hollish said. "And sometimes they need a lot of care around the clock," Hollish said.
The foster program is crucial for the always busy medical staff at the shelter.
"Unfortunately we get a lot of animals that are hit by cars and they'll have broken bones," said Dr. Sarah Rios. "So that means that they are either in casts or need to be in crate rest for an extended period of time."
PACC always needs foster parents to care for sick, injured animals and orphan kittens who often need to be bottle fed.
Before they are adopted some animals need to be fostered for one to seven weeks, or a few months depending on their condition.
"You need to be ready to give pets medication or socialization, or whatever they need to get big and stronger enough to come back to the shelter for adoption," Hollish said.
It only took about four hours for the labs to be adopted, but PACC
has 500 animals that need homes.