Abandoned and sick, uncared for puppies like Kenny and Nita who where undernourished, had a very high parasite load, and whose small bodies were starved for nutrition, found themselves in the shelter with a triple whammy. They’d never seen a vet, their parent dogs were not likely vaccinated, they had no resistance to disease and they landed in a shelter where through no fault of the shelter, disease is present.
Puppies with no resistance, once out of the parking lot and in the shelter, are exposed and vulnerable. And unfortunately they are exposed to diseases that kill. So the most vulnerable animals who make it to a place that if the world were fair would help them, are exposed to diseases that kill them instead. Fairness dictates that we find the strength within us to give them the chance to live, even if it is not comfortable for us.
Let’s be clear. Shelters are not at fault. Owners who irresponsibly breed without caring for their dogs and who don’t do basic veterinary care to ensure adults and puppies have basic immunity are at fault.
Exposure to a disease that can take two to three months to work through is a death sentence in shelter, they don’t have funds, resources and programs that allow them to even attempt to save these puppies. How many families are willing to foster puppies who are 80 percent likely to die? SCGSR will – for the 20 percent who will live – and we will try hard to make that survival percentage higher.
As you are likely aware, for the last two months SCGSR cared for Kenny and Nita, who were formally diagnosed with distemper through a PCR test. Common protocol says once a puppy has certain symptoms of distemper, the only option is euthanasia. Shelters do not have the resources to put these puppies into long term care to be able to determine which will survive. They don’t have fosters and vets to work through the very scary symptoms and support needed for puppies and for the people caring for them.
Luckily, but after suffering several distemper losses, SCGSR searched for any possible alternative treatments. We found that Maddie’s Fund, an incredible large animal welfare organization, has helped develop and is supporting a new protocol through Austin Pets Alive and America Pets Alive who helped immensely with advice and emotional support and gave SCGSR the confidence to work though the uncomfortable stages of the disease to help achieve a higher survival rate for puppies with distemper.
Kenny and Nita are the results of theirs and our efforts. They are extraordinarily attached and although we don’t normally recommend adopting siblings, Nita is Kenny’s guiding star and they are happiest together. And we are hoping to help more while learning and while also emotionally surviving the inevitable loss. Our hope is to help educate the public to the fact that a puppy can have ongoing issue that are not life threatening, and still have a wonderful quality of life that makes it all worthwhile.
You can donate to help us achieve this goal here.
Pictures from during recovery.