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When bad things happen to good dogs

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Naperville Sun
By Donna Picard, Special to the Sun
Sep 17, 2010
Donna Picard, A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter volunteer

The mission of A.D.O.P.T. is simple. It is to improve the quality of life of all animals and to place them into loving and permanent homes through rescue, extraordinary and compassionate care and humane education. So with this ambition in mind, we are dedicated to saving lives through the rescue of "high risk" puppies that may otherwise not have a chance.

We take this on fully understanding the probability of having to manage a disease like the parvovirus. Parvovirus is a potentially deadly but preventable disease found in dogs and puppies, most commonly attacks the canine intestinal tract and is shed in feces and vomit. It is not transmissible to humans but is highly contagious between dogs. When it comes to providing that extraordinary and compassionate care, we not only succeed but we thrive.

The goal at A.D.O.P.T. is not to eliminate the risk of the parvovirus but instead to have the protocols and resources in place to handle it so we can give these puppies a chance at life. Puppies, and there are so many out there waiting to be rescued, are more at risk because they are young and have delicate and still developing immune systems.

In most instances they have never been vaccinated so they are especially vulnerable. So these pups at such a young age already have two strikes against them and the third strike is generally that many shelters won't rescue them because they can't take on the risks associated with handing a parvovirus outbreak.

To many people, the word "parvo" conjures up images of run-down animal housing facilities overcrowded with sick puppies all crammed into cages. This is not the typical scenario.

All shelters are at risk as the parvovirus originates in the environment of our own communities near and far. It is then brought into shelters when dogs come in from any community. Treating parvo can be time-consuming, risky and expensive. There are no antiviral drugs, and treatment generally centers on supportive care while the virus runs it course and can often result in the need for hospitalization.

At ADOPT we have taken a proactive approach to minimizing our risk including a comprehensive vaccination program, room and resources to isolate and treat the sick, clearly defined disinfection procedures, responsible adoption policies and the highest quality of care that monitors the health of all of our animals.

This extraordinary care starts with our veterinarian and carries through to our compassionate animal care team. We work as a team and we work hard to make a difference. So the next time you hear the word "parvo," don't think of the bad, remember the good that comes from being able to make a difference and save a life.

For us at ADOPT that is truly the greatest reward. For more information about any of the animals we have available for adoption please contact A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter at 630-355-2299.

The shelter is a no-kill, nonprofit, animal shelter at 420 Industrial Drive, Naperville. Visit us at

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