“It was dreadful. So scary. It was the worst thing I’ve ever been through,” recalls Sharon, Australian Shepard breeder.
For 17 years, Sharon has been breeding Australian shepherds and participating in dog shows across the country. “I always had my dogs fully vaccinated, but even then I worried that something like this might happen. And then my worst fears came true,” she says.
In 2016, after returning from two dog shows in Oregon and Missouri, Sharon noticed one of her seven-month-old puppies wasn’t acting quite right. “At first I thought she just had a GI issue from traveling. But when it didn’t get better, I knew something more was going on. I work part-time at a vet’s office so I performed a parvo fecal test and a PCR genetic test for parvo. Both tests came back negative so I wasn’t sure what was happening,” says Sharon.
Turns out, the dog did have parvo, even though the tests all showed negative. “The new parvo strain is very fast, as quick as three days from exposure to clinical. The SNAP test can be negative when it hits because it hits so fast that the virus is not yet shedding in the stool. You can re-do the SNAP test in two to three days. The disease will at some point be positive on the test. If it looks and smells like parvo – we treat it like parvo until we prove it to be something else. You have to get aggressive or we lose other puppies to the virus,” says Dr. Bramlage, Revival’s Former Director of Veterinary Services.
“I’ve been traveling with dogs for years and never had a problem like this before. You often think parvo is something that only happens in dirty kennels. But that’s not the case. My dog picked it up at one of the dog shows we had been traveling to and brought it home,” she says.
Unfortunately, the disease quickly spread to some of her other dogs. At the time, Sharon had several puppies ranging in age from seven to ten weeks old that had been now exposed to parvo. “We did lose some puppies. It crushed me. These dogs meant something to me and I felt so helpless,” she says.
Sharon immediately reached out to Dr. Bramlage and Shelly, a Revival Pet Care Pro, for help in saving the rest of her dogs. “I was distraught,” Sharon recalls.
“I felt terrible for her, but I knew we could get her through it and solve the problem,” says Shelly.
Shelly and Dr. Bramlage told Sharon she needed to immediately disinfect with Virkon, give all her dogs a booster and vaccinate her puppies with NeoPar starting at four weeks old. “I had always given my dogs a DAPPv at eight, twelve and sixteen weeks, but never a NeoPar. I followed their advice to a tee and didn’t lose any more puppies,” she says.
The original dog that brought the Parvo home from the dog show did survive and Sharon has since been vaccinating all her puppies with NeoPar at four and six weeks. “I have not had a problem since! I now recommend to everyone to start NeoPar vaccinations early. This is so easy to prevent!” she says.
One final note, Sharon is now telling others, “never be afraid to ask Revival for help. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. They are always there for you.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends creating a core vaccine program for your dog. Since every dog is different, it’s important to work with your personal veterinarian to figure out the right vaccination protocol for your pet.
Share Your Pet Care Victory With Us
You strive to raise healthy and happy pets. You love the feeling of holding that newborn puppy and seeing the joy a new pet brings to a child’s face. At Revival we want to celebrate these wins because we understand that keeping pets healthy comes with challenges.
In our series, Pet Care Victories, we are highlighting YOU and your pet care wins! We know that even the best of us sometimes struggle with the health of our animals. And while at that time it can feel frustrating and devastating, it’s important to remember you are not alone. When we share our knowledge and passion with each other, we can all be on the winning team.
Want help solving tough pet health problems? Call one of our Pet Care Pros today at 800.786.4751.
Written by: Shelley Hexom
Shelley Hexom is Revival's Content Manager and helps develop educational pet health resources. A three-time Emmy® Award-winning news anchor, Shelley works with Revival's Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, to help create useful and easy-to-understand articles, videos, and webinars. Shelley received her bachelor's degree in Mass Communications from Winona State University in 2002. As a pet owner, Shelley enjoys time with her Boxer mix, Sally. Shelley has been part of the Revival Paw Squad since 2016.