ALBUS, PARVO AND FULL-FRONT CRYING AT THE VET'S OFFICE



As a new dog owner, the last couple of weeks have been trying at best, horrifying at worst.
Nothing says trial by fire like your first puppy catching the dreaded parvovirus. As in.


Albus (named after the headmaster of the school I went to, obviously) is this cute tiny Japanese Spitz-Dachshund-Aspin mix that we got a couple of months ago from our friends. Look at him, isn't he the cutest? Being the kind of runt of the litter, he is small and not as furry as his litter mates, but we would later find out that his energy for playing is insatiable. He is also the very reliable guard puppy of the house.


He is my first dog ever, and so I was scared I'd do something wrong like feed him chocolate. But everything was fine. I did all the research I could for raising crazy puppies. I taught him how to sit and fed him good food and played with him and took him to walks in the park.

And then one day, he just stopped eating. We tried force feeding him. He lost so much weight in 48 hours. And then he started vomiting, foaming in the mouth and pooping reddish stools. 

I was mortified. Red flashing signs went up inside my mind. Parvo, parvo parvo. :(

According to WebMD, canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness. The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in a dog’s body, most severely affecting the intestinal tract. 

Basically the puppies have 24-72 hours before they die due to severe dehydration caused by diarrhea.

We prepped a bag and called all available vets in Lapu-Lapu City. 
And you know what? None of them were available at that time.
Not at Claws and Paws, who told us that the vet was out of town and that they were closing in an hour.
Not at Caminade who didn't even have a vet in their Lapu-Lapu branch.
There could have been a vet at the Mactan Cat and Dog Clinic, if we could reach the unavailable phone # they still have posted online, or if they just informed the general public that they have moved their clinic to another, less accessible place. We spent a good half hour on the road trying to look for that said vet clinic, all the while carrying a potentially dying dog whose chances of survival dwindled with each minute we wasted.

My puppy was sick, we couldn't find a single darn clinic, and I was late for work.

I was so pissed, I was crying in the cab all the way to Mabolo. That was the nearest, most reliable clinic we knew of.


Luckily, the folks at the Fil-Chi Animal Clinic were prompt to assist us. I was just happy that they were still open at 8 in the evening.

Now, this was my first time to the vets. I also had shortcomings as an owner because I didn't have poor puppyboy get his vaccines when he was younger. I was kind of embarrassed about that. We went to the city vet to get some shots a couple of months ago but they didn't give Albus any because he wasn't old enough yet. That was for his anti-rabies shots. Parvo vaccines are only administered by private vets, and puppies can get them as early as 1 month.

Good to know, now that it's kind of too late, I told myself.

 I was such a sobbing mess by the time we got there, I couldn't even answer a question straight, but the vet didn't seem to mind. They were quick to assess and care for the poor pup, and they gave me the diagnosis straight up without any fuss or sugarcoating.

It's parvo, there's 50% chance that this pup's gonna die.

Like I said, straight up.


Even with a rate of Php1,800/night we checked the poor puppy in and crossed our fingers.
My heart broke seeing my once-energetic puppy quiver and slump onto the vet's examination table. Is this what every pet owner feels? It was awful to see your beloved pet be so weak and sick. It just wasn't him. The worst part is there is so little you can do about it.

I cried again when it was time to say goodbye. I couldn't picture the thought of him dying alone in the clinic whilst I went to work. At this point I have lost all shame. I'm just glad boyfriend didn't leave me in embarrassment.


We visited Albus everyday until he was well enough to take home. Yes, my puppy is now a badass parvo survivor! The secret is rehydration. Just like any human suffering from severe diarrhea, the trick is to keep your pet hydrated with fluid replacement. The doctor even let him take his IV fluids with him after she told me it basically works the same way as in humans. I was never gladder I took IV training a couple of weeks before all this happened.

Now, home care is another story. All I can say is, the Php 5000 we spent at the vet was worth it because of the hassle caring for a pet entails.

For now, here are the lessons I learned with this whole ordeal:


1. Prevention is better than cure: always make sure your pets have shots.

2. Take your dog to the vet promptly!

3. Lapu-Lapu City should have facilities like Fil-Chi who work extended hours for pet emergencies

4. It's good to have a backup emergency fund. Veterinary care is expensive everywhere, so you must be prepared to shell out money. People might say "It's just a dog"/"Iro ra man na" but pets are worth it.

5. Dogs only know 2 feelings: joy and hunger. Ha! The feeling of your dog getting well after parvo is the best feeling in the world. A dog's love and loyalty are irreplaceable, even if they are high maintenance and hardheaded. It's basically like raising a kid. Dogs are indeed man's best friend and companions and so they deserve all the love and care that we can give.


So, take good care of your pets! :) 

All the love to all the pet parents out there,