As many pup parents know, parvovirus is one of the scariest words known to dog lovers, and is often referred to as the “puppy killer.”
“The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. The virus manifests itself in two different forms. The more common form is the intestinal form, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite (anorexia). The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death.” – PetMD
For these pups, now called “The Redbone 6,” parvovirus became a terrifying reality.
During the weekend of August 13th, six redbone coonhound puppies were received by a British Columbia based rescue called Paws It Forward. Unfortunately, shortly after arriving, it was discovered that a few of the puppies were feeling under the weather. They were quickly taken to Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, where they were diagnosed with worms, and given a parvovirus test for precaution. To everyone’s dismay, all six puppies were infected with the disease.
Without hesitation, Dr. Moshe Oz, owner and operator of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital, took the entire litter into his care. Both he and his staff understood that parvovirus has a 91% mortality rate in young dogs, and requires 24 hour treatment for up to several weeks. The medications and supplies alone were estimated at $10,000.
“Paws it Forward runs an amazing rescue, but it’s small and no one expects this kind of expense…” said Michelle Dupuis, a volunteer working with the rescue.
Dr. Oz is well known in the Okanagan Valley for his generous charity work and dedication to animals in need. Fortunately, these puppies were no exception!
“I was worried how would we repay Dr Oz, who already volunteered his time and, really, his family time, as he has [been] spending the nights sleeping at the clinic to monitor the babies. All while saving other people’s dogs too,” Michelle said.
“After we were done, I began to cry. I realized we had six sick puppies who may not make it and, if they do make it, have a long road to recovery.”
He looked at me said, ‘Please don’t cry. The reason I became a vet was to help animals. We will sort everything else out later.’
“At that moment, someone I had never met became my hero.”
Dr. Oz and his staff spent the next seven days fighting tirelessly to save the puppies. He was even sleeping at the office to ensure they were safe. With daily updates posted in the Facebook group dedicated to the litter, everyone in the dog community was praying for these babies.
On August 17th, two puppies were deemed under critical care, one more following the next day. They were experiencing much more advanced symptoms of the virus, and Dr. Oz was unsure whether they would survive.
“We have been told to have no expectations but, we do have a ton of hope,” said Jilly-Ann Gibson, another member of the Paws It Forward Team.
Thankfully, the puppies in critical care began improving and eventually joined their brothers and sisters on the road to recovery.
While Dr. Oz was busy saving lives, volunteers from the community and Paws It Forward worked to raise as much money as possible to repay the clinic.
“[Dr. Oz] has expressed deeply that he does not care about being paid. He just wants to save them. He wants them to be in homes and happy and alive. If we have zero dollars to cover any of the cost of the medications, that’s OK. However, I don’t want to put that on the clinic, as it is only run by his wife and himself. So, we will pay as much as we can raise,” Jilly-Anne posted in the group.
Jilly-Ann and some other volunteers drove around the community, collecting bottles and raising funds to pay back the clinic. They were met with generosity and extended support, as fellow dog lovers helped sort bottles and collect donations.
The whole community was rooting for these guys!
On August 22nd, Paws It Forward happily announced that all six of the puppies will be making a full recovery! The litter has been cleared by Dr. Oz to return to their foster homes, where they will receive further care and rehabilitation.
These puppies had a 9% chance of surviving parvovirus. Without Dr. Oz and his outstanding team of staff, we believe “The Redbone 6” would not have made it through this illness.
Though there is a long road of recovery ahead, these puppies will lead a fulfilling and healthy life, thanks to Dr. Oz, who donated his time, resources, and staff without thought. He is truly an inspiration and hero to the animal community.
“I think Dr. Oz is truly amazing,” said Jilly-Ann Gibson. “From the moment I called him, he has been very accommodating and compassionate. His optimism kept us all having hope. He was very clear that we should not have any expectations but, sure enough, he saved every one of them. Without his round the clock care, who knows what could of happened. I am extremely thankful for him and is expertise.”
Thank you, Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital for saving their lives!
-Paws It Forward
Paws It Forward and the community are still raising funds to help contribute to the litter’s medical bill. If you would like to donate, you can e-transfer donations to firstname.lastname@example.org or donate via PayPal at Paws It Forward.org.
Some of the puppies are in search of new foster homes! You can learn more about fostering here.
A special thank you to Dr. Oz, Paws It Forward, and everyone who volunteered their time to save these puppies!