Canine Parvovirus (CPV), commonly referred to as Parvo, is a highly contagious disease most specific to dogs under 1 year old. There is a lot of fear, and fear-mongering, surrounding Parvo. The disease itself is not fatal, but the severe dehydration it causes in a short time, as well as secondary infections that result, are. Sadly, most puppies that get sick from Parvo do die.
For a Naturally Reared puppy though, Parvo is not a death sentence! Evidence shows that puppies who are not vaccinated are better able to recover if they get sick, often times experiencing only minor symptoms. Those chances increase also if chemical wormer has not been administered. With subsequent generations of NR puppies the incidence and severity of Parvo continues to diminish to practically nil.
Recently one of our four month old, 2nd Generation NR pups presented with Parvo… and fully recovered. We asked Grady’s owner if we could share his story to give you confidence in Naturally Rearing a vaccine-free puppy.
“Hi Krystal, I wanted to let you know that Grady is very sick. He has contacted Parvo and is currently at a vet clinic receiving supportive treatment (fluid iv/antibiotics, etc.). We are devastated and I would have called you but I haven’t stopped crying all afternoon/evening. I’m not sure how he contacted it but I’m guessing he picked it up somewhere in the forest on one of our walks. We have not taken him off the farm nor has anyone visited us since we adopted him. Aja was vaccinated 8 months ago and has not shown any symptoms of the disease.
It actually came on rather quickly. Tuesday he had a great day and I had drafted an email to give you an update on how he’s doing but didn’t have a chance to finish it and send to you before he became ill. Wednesday morning he vomited and wasn’t interested in food. I worked all day but my husband was home and didn’t notice him acting sick. That night he wasn’t interested in food again and vomited twice. I was starting to get worried. This morning he didn’t eat and vomited twice. He was lethargic and didn’t want to play with Aja at all which is unusual for him. Doug and I took him to the vet and they tested his stool which came back positive for Parvo. We left him there to begin supportive treatment – hoping that his immune system is strong enough to fight off the disease. Of course, they were less than pleased when they heard that he had never received any vaccines and his diet was raw meat and bones. If looks could kill both Doug and I would be dead.
I’m so worried and sad. I feel like I didn’t take good care of him. Maybe we should have vaccinated him. We’re both new to owning dogs and having a puppy is different than an adult dog… Please pray for Grady – that he will be strong enough to fight through this. Aja is already depressed and will be even more devastated than we are if he doesn’t make it. This evening she was outside in the grass laying there with one of our cats next to her for company. I haven’t seen her this sedate since before Grady arrived. Take care friend. I’ll keep you posted on how our little boy is doing. -Sherri”
“Hi Krystal, I wanted to let you know that we brought Grady home this morning after spending 4 nights and 3 1/2 days at the vet. He came through the treatment like a champ and spent the day running around the yard with Aja and eating like he hadn’t eaten in days (which he hadn’t). Right now he’s sleeping under my chair.
We were amazed that he hit the ground running after his stint at the vet’s office. We expected him to be low key and lay low for a few days. I’m so relieved that he was strong enough to make it through the Parvo virus. Chalk one up for Natural Rearing and no vaccines!! -Sherri”
Sherri and Doug said that the veterinarian was surprised it was Parvo because Grady was more alert than the sick puppies they usually see. If it hadn’t been a weekend they feel pretty sure Grady would have come home sooner. The vet’s office called first thing upon opening Monday morning to say he was definitely ready to come home! Thank you both for allowing us to share your encouraging story!