The Power of a Vaccine

Little Grace

Little Grace

Grace was one of the three pug puppies we adopted from Memphis Animal Shelter in early September.

Grace was euthanized on 10/16/08 after six weeks of battling distemper virus.

The pups were probably way too young to have left their mother, much less be in a shelter where airborne disease is very hard to control. We think they were only about four weeks old when they entered the shelter.

To add to the riskiness, the young puppies underwent spay and neuter surgery before leaving the shelter.

Grace in her girly pink

Grace in her girly pink

Distemper can be transferred from dog to dog by breathing the viral particles in the air. It can take up to three weeks to actually show up. In the first week following exposure to this virus, the pup/dog may show diarrhea or gastrointestinal upset. At about two weeks, there may be some upper respiratory symptoms that are indistinguishable from kennel cough. At three weeks, they may get better and get off antibiotics. They usually relapse and show signs of pneumonia. Many dogs with proper care will survive this stage.

Young puppies are at highest risk. They depend on antibodies from their moms to give them protection in the first few weeks of life. An unvaccinated mother dog has no immunity to pass to puppies. Surgery weakens a dog’s immune system and even though these babies received a vaccine at the shelter, they may never have  been able to mount an immune response to it.

This is the lesson we take from losing little Grace:

Please vaccinate your animals for distemper/parvo/corona virus when they are puppies, and follow the suggested regimen for booster shots. This is a very small price to pay to save your dog’s life and your family’s broken heart. Also, you cannot make up for lost time once a dog is exposed to distemper; the immunity must already be there from a previous vaccine. IF your animals are NOT UP TO DATE  on this vaccine, please see your vet immediately.


2 Responses

  1. This has been a hard lesson ….but Grace is safe in God’s arms right now playing and running around the vast yard above. We gave her all we had and then some….

    The shelter should have never brought them in or spayed her…what a tragedy and a great loss!

    My heart hurts for all the pugs…and other puppies that are put into the shelter unprotected.

  2. อย่าขี้โม้

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