There are a lot of awareness campaigns going on everywhere. So many of them are for issues that, unless you have been living like an ostrich, sticking your head in a hole in the ground, you should already know about. Such is the case with Canine Parvovirus, on which I will focus in this blog. If you already have or are considering, adopting a puppy (or an adult dog), you should know to do some research on what is required to raise a healthy, happy puppy and how it might affect your family and your activities. I will advise you of a few things you should know. You should know that your puppy WILL wake you up at night to go to the bathroom. Your puppy WILL need almost constant supervision. Your puppy WILL need your love and affection. Your puppy will NEED time with you to bond. Your puppy WILL need to be trained properly. Your puppy will NEED good quality food to be healthy. Your puppy WILL NEED VACCINATIONS! That's right - you will have to spend some time and money on your puppy (kinda like children, right?). Plan your time and your finances so you are able to afford the proper care and vaccinations. Parvo, in particular, is something we stress in our client education, as it, at this time, seems to be more common than other diseases we vaccinate for. From the 1st time they bring their puppies in for their 1st examinations and vaccinations, we educate new furbaby parents on how puppies need a series of vaccinations to protect them from deadly parvo (as, of course, from other preventable diseases, as well). Puppies NEED to stay on schedule with vaccinations in order to thwart this awful virus. Puppy owners at our hospital are advised that we give parvo and other appropriate vaccines at 6, 8, 10, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Your puppy is NOT protected against parvo until 2 weeks AFTER your final parvo vaccine. Skip the series of vaccines, and your puppy runs the risk of contracting parvo (as well as distemper, etc.). ALL of our technicians go over the importance of completing the vaccination schedule with our new puppy/new pet owners. There is NO reason for someone who comes to Animal Hospital of Statesville to NOT know about parvo. It is a CHOICE not to do vaccines. It is a CHOICE to not stick to the vaccine schedule. If you cannot afford vaccinations, it is better that you wait to adopt when you are better off financially. You are not "saving" a puppy if you cannot provide the care that it needs. To think you are is to be fooling yourself.
To summarize: Adopt a puppy when you are FINANCIALLY able, and when you are able to devote the TIME to the training and love that your pet requires. Stop making excuses for why you don't finish vaccine series. Do not listen to people who don't know what they are talking about when they say your pets do not need vaccinations. Your pet might pay the price for your bad decisions. I will also say this, while I am on my soapbox: If you adopt a puppy from someone and they say they have all their vaccinations but they have no records of them to give you - DON"T BELIEVE THEM! Maybe they have, maybe they haven't. Maybe the vaccines were given on schedule, maybe they weren't. If you don't have a HARD COPY from a vet, pretend like they have no vaccinations and start over! Do you get the idea that we hear "They told me he had all his vaccinations!" ALL the time? We do! And then they get Parvo. I'm sorry if this seems harsh, but every year, all year, we experience this problem. Folks who make rash decisions about adopting a pet without considering the effect it will have on their time, money and families often cause their adopted pet to pay the harsh price of either their health or their life. It is too easy to get reliable, ACCURATE information on pet care. Your veterinarian can give you the guidance you need. The time for the excuse of "I didn't know" should be over. It takes initiative on the part of the future owner. It takes caring. If I am "preaching to the choir", please share this with people who NEED to know!