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Austin Pets Alive!: Orvis Parvo Puppy ICU Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant supported APA!'s groundbreaking Puppy Parvo ICU, the first of its kind in the nation. The ICU treats puppies stricken with parvovirus, and at risk in traditional shelters, which lack the resources to treat this highly contagious disease and euthanize them instead. Austin's municipal shelter, along with an increasing number of shelters across Texas, will transfer puppies with parvo to Austin Pets Alive!'s care, where they undergo 7-14 days of treatment with antibiotics, painkillers and IV supportive care. The ICU had treated 350 puppies in 2015 as of the end of October, with a survival rate of 83%. This rate is slightly lower than in the previous year, but still higher than the typical survival rate of 75-80%. (The rate varies because puppies may be transported to APA! days after falling ill, which reduces their chances for survival, or have co-existing problems that make it harder to fight off the virus.) All puppies surviving the virus go on to be adopted, and they are in high demand in Austin.

The grant supported the survival of 350 puppies who otherwise would have been euthanized, and allowed them to go on to loving homes. While Austin Pets Alive! is able to treat puppies with parvovirus at 1/10th the cost typically charged in a private clinic because it uses a team of dedicated volunteers to provide most of the puppies' treatment, costs for vet supervision, supplies and medicines still add up rapidly, to about $47,000 per year. The Petfinder Foundation/Orvis $10,000 grant covered most of the costs of the ICU through its busy summer season, a time when shelters like Austin Pets Alive!'s see their highest expenses while bringing in less in donations.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Two-month-old Jenny came down with parvovirus just a week after being purchased from a breeder, and her new family did not want to take on the expense of treating this purebred Boston terrier. She was surrendered to a shelter, where puppies like Jenny are typically euthanized immediately. But Jenny was lucky to have been born in Texas, where the shelter that took her in knew about Austin Pets Alive!’s quarantined ICU for treating parvovirus and quickly transferred her there. After just 10 days of dedicated care by the organization’s vets and experienced volunteer team, Jenny was back to her adorable, sassy self. Possibly breaking a speed record for adoption, she found a home on a local ranch within hours of leaving the Parvo Puppy program, and she’s now living a big life full of adventure for a very little dog.

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