A litter of seven purebred Labrador retriever puppies that came down with the Parvovirus were rescued through a new foster program, the Pima Animal Care Center said Wednesday.
The puppies were turned over to the center by their breeder for having the contagious virus, which can be deadly if not treated promptly. Parvo can be prevented through a vaccine, officials said in a news release.
The virus causes diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.
Officials estimate that the animal care center, 4000 N. Silverbell Road, receives more than 300 dogs with Parvo each year. In many of these cases the center euthanizes the sick dogs.
The Labrador puppies were saved thanks to a recent $10,000 donation of fluids and medications from Friends of PACC, a project fund of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.
The donation helped save the puppies through a program that relies on volunteer foster parents who work with an animal care center team, said officials.
The seven puppies have already been adopted.
Animal foster parents were provided with what they needed to care for the dogs at their homes, which allows them to be isolated from other dogs at the center.
“In almost all of PACC’s history, these sick but savable dogs were put to sleep,” said Justin Gallick, the center’s director of community engagement.
“Our partners in the rescue community have saved many sick dogs using their own resources, but they can’t continue to carry that entire burden. We are glad that our shelter can finally give puppies like this a chance.”
The shelter needs more volunteer foster parents who are willing to care for Parvo-positive dogs after they survive the most critical portion of their treatment because the dogs can “shed” the virus for up to two weeks, officials said.
Foster parents are also needed for kittens and adult dogs recovering from surgery.
Anyone interested in becoming an animal foster parent can learn more on the center’s website: webcms.pima.gov/government/pima_animal_care_center