Six Mixed-Breed Puppies Came to Organization Infected with Highly Contagious, Often Deadly Disease
BOSTON and Centerville, Mass., Jan. 22, 2024 – The MSPCA’s Boston and Cape Cod Adoption Centers are issuing a call for adopters for five very special German Shepherd-mix puppies who have faced more peril in their 13-weeks of life than many dogs face in a lifetime.
The puppies were surrendered to the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center (TJO) in Springfield on January 12. Staff there knew the young dogs needed urgent medical intervention that they would not be able to provide, so they reached out to the MSPCA for help.
“We are thankful to recover five of these puppies,” explained Mike Keiley, Vice President of MSPCA-Angell’s Animal Protection Division. “They were infected with Parvovirus, a rapidly progressing, very contagious, and often deadly disease.”
“Luckily, TJO recognized the urgency of the puppies’ situation and reached out to us immediately, knowing that we have the network of specialized veterinarians and resources needed to treat them, as well as shelter staff able to find them perfect homes when they’ve recovered,” he added.
A Rocky Road to Recovery
On the evening of January 12, staff at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston and Angell West in Waltham worked hard to create isolation space to accommodate the new arrivals without jeopardizing the health of any other animals in their care.
“Saving these puppies took incredible collaboration throughout our organization,” elaborated Keiley. “Our shelter team coordinated to get the puppies and worked with doctors at both our hospitals to ensure that they would get the immediate intervention they needed.”
Veterinarians who examined the puppies upon their arrival January 13 reported that they were dehydrated and uncomfortable, with lab work that showed the virus had already started seriously impacting their health. They were started on high rates of fluids and several medications, including a state-of-the-art monoclonal antibody treatment.
“It took several days of intense treatment, but five of the puppies eventually started showing a marked improvement,” said Keiley. “The majority of them were able to leave intensive care after about four days.”
“Unfortunately, one suffered a setback in recovery, and we did absolutely everything possible to save him, but he didn’t survive,” Keiley added. “Parvo is so dangerous, we knew that saving all the puppies would be challenging, but we had to try.”
“It’s a stark reminder to dog owners that vaccinating against this virus is extremely important.”
Adoption Center Staff: ‘Many Puppies Looking for Homes!’
“These puppies still need to be isolated from other dogs for about a month while they finish shedding the virus,” expounded Keiley. “But they’ve recovered enough that they’re ready to start going to new homes this week.”
“They’re quite the fighters, and we know that they’ll be really great pets for the right adopters,” he added, noting that shelter officials are looking for families who will help with the puppies’ initial recovery, as well as help them learn socialization and basic training to prepare them for when they are cleared for contact with other dogs.
“These puppies are just some of many in our care who need homes,” Keiley said. “The national dog crisis is so bad now that even puppies are languishing in shelters in other parts of the country, so we’re bringing them here to Massachusetts in hopes they can find new loving homes faster.”
The shepherd-mix puppies are available for adoption at the MSPCA’s Boston and Cape Cod Adoption Centers. Other puppies available for adoption may be viewed at mspca.org/adoptadog.
Those interested in adopting a puppy or any of the animals in the MSPCA’s care are asked to visit during shelter open hours, which vary by location: