Two days ago, a veterinarian in Australia posted a graphic photo of a dog that was diagnosed with parvo after his owners failed to vaccinate him.
The picture is hard to look at, but it’s worth sharing here because it can help educate people on the importance of vaccinations. The dog – identified as Mr. T. – only went to the clinic after three days of not eating and a morning of vomiting.
The veterinary office’s post says the owners “hadn’t got around to” vaccinating the adult dog yet. As a result of that, he had to fight for his life, all while covered in his own diarrhea and vomit.
After a comfortable night in isolation, this morning Mr. T let everything go. This poor, poor boy was covered, and I mean covered, in his own diarrhea and vomit. As a putrid smell started to work its way out into the vet clinic, I started scrubbing the area, an all too familiar job for vet nurses and always looking back at Mr. T, to tell him it was okay.
Gone was the wagging tail and happiness. Now his head hung low, his eyes half closed, laying on his bedding not moving, he was clearly suffering in the grips of this terrible disease. Just when you think you have cleaned up the mess, Mr. T starts squirting uncontrollable diarrhea over the floor and wall. A reassuring pat and the clean up starts again.
This is parvo. Unfiltered, uncensored and undeniably devastating.
I spoke with a representative from Whyalla Veterinary Clinic, who said that, while Mr. T’s owners “didn’t get around to” vaccinating him (and are kicking themselves now), the false information being spread by anti-vaxxers is “a big problem” there.
“Vaccination still is, and has always been, the best way to guard your dog from parvovirus. We are trying so hard to get owners to be responsible by vaccinating. None of us like seeing these poor dogs so sick. Every dog we’ve had in with parvo has NEVER been vaccinated in its life. We haven’t had one single dog in with parvo that was vaccinated. I think that speaks for itself.”
“Not to our knowledge – but having said that, when presenting at the clinic with a critically ill parvo dog for treatment, I highly doubt they would admit to us that they are anti-vaxxers, even if they are!”
They make a good point. We’ve heard of anti-vaxx philosophies spreading to the pet world, but a vet wouldn’t necessarily know if that’s the case. It’s easy information to hide, and people claim they don’t vaccinate for many different reasons.
After a hard battle against parvo, it turns out Mr. T. is going to be OK. Many dogs in similar situations, however, have not been so lucky.
I’m happy he’s going to make it, but I hope everyone with dogs takes this as a lesson on vaccinations. We can’t force them to do that, though. We just need to do our best to let everyone know that vaccines help dogs and that they won’t give yours autism (or pawtism). That’s all we can really do.
David G. McAfee