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Open AccessArticle

A Decade of Treatment of Canine Parvovirus in an Animal Shelter: A Retrospective Study

Research Department, Austin Pets Alive!, Austin, TX 78703, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(6), 939;
Received: 26 April 2020 / Revised: 22 May 2020 / Accepted: 24 May 2020 / Published: 29 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
The canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious gastrointestinal disease which affects unvaccinated, insufficiently vaccinated, or improperly vaccinated dogs and results in a fatality rate greater than 90% if left untreated. Treatment in private practice settings can often cost several thousand dollars, making it an unaffordable option for many pet owners as well as a challenging population to treat for shelters. Here, we examine 11.5 years of data from Austin Pets Alive!, a private animal shelter in Austin, TX, which has treated 5127 dogs infected with CPV since 2008. We show an 86.6% (n = 4438/5127) survival rate, with the most critical period of treatment during the first five days of care, and detail the protocols used to achieve this high proportion of successful treatment outcomes. A CPV season was observed peaking in May and June and accounting for as much as a 41 animal/month increase compared to low periods in August, September, December, and January. Low-weight animals and male animals were found to be at higher risk for mortality. Together, these results aim to assist shelters in creating programs to treat this disease and to inspire future research into improving practices in treatment and prevention.
Here, we present 11.5 years of monthly treatment statistics showing an overall intake of 5127 infected dogs between June 2008 and December 2019, as well as more detailed datasets from more recent, less protracted time periods for the examination of mortality risk, seasonality, and resource requirements in the mass treatment of canine parvovirus (CPV) in a private animal shelter. The total survival rate of animals during the study period was 86.6% (n = 4438/5127 dogs survived) with the probability of survival increasing to 96.7% after five days of treatment (with 80% of fatalities occurring in that period). A distinct parvovirus season peaking in May and June and troughing in August, September, December, and January was observed, which could have contributed as much as 41 animals peak-to-trough in the monthly population (with a potential, smaller season occurring in October). Low-weight and male animals were at higher risk for death, whereas age was not a significant contributing factor. Treatment time averaged 9.03 h of total care during a seven-day median treatment duration. These findings, taken together, demonstrate that canine parvovirus can be successfully treated in a sustainable manner within a shelter setting using a largely volunteer workforce. View Full-Text
Keywords: canine parvovirus; animal sheltering; treatment; veterinary epidemiology; survival analysis canine parvovirus; animal sheltering; treatment; veterinary epidemiology; survival analysis
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Horecka, K.; Porter, S.; Amirian, E.S.; Jefferson, E. A Decade of Treatment of Canine Parvovirus in an Animal Shelter: A Retrospective Study. Animals 2020, 10, 939.

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