Cassie fought this terrible virus over four days, and was given all the love and support possible from her foster family. She knew that there was a forever family already waiting for her to come in to their lives. She tried so hard to stay in this world, but her system gave way. She was being held by her foster parents when she died. Cassie was a very happy, playful pup who touched our hearts. We will always remember her.
Parvovirus is probably the most common viral illness of dogs at the present time worldwide. It can be very hard to successfully vaccinate a puppy for this disease because the antibody protection the puppy acquires from its mother can interfere with vaccination. Many vets recommend vaccinating puppies every three to four weeks for this virus starting at 6 weeks of age and continuing until they are at least 16 weeks of age. It is possible that this vaccine confers lifelong immunity once it does work but most veterinarians continue to recommend yearly vaccination for it.
Parvo is a virus that attacks the lining of the digestive system. It causes puppies to not be able to absorb nutrients or liquids. Puppies are especially prone to it because they have an immature immune system. When they contract parvo, they often have diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. Usually they stop eating and develop a bloody, foul-smelling, liquid stool. Symptoms usually begin with a high fever, lethargy, depression, and loss of appetite. Secondary symptoms appear as severe gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
Canine parvovirus is carried by dogs. Adult dogs may be infected carriers without showing any clinical signs. Dogs with the typical diarrhea that parvovirus causes, shed the virus as well. It can last a long time in the environment, perhaps as long as 9 months or longer. It can be carried on your shoes, clothing and hands.
It takes 4-14 days from the time of exposure for dogs and puppies to start showing symptoms and to test positive for parvo.
Parvo is highly contagious to unprotected dogs, and the virus can remain infectious in ground contaminated with fecal material for 5 months or more if conditions are favorable. Extremely hardy, most disinfectants cannot kill the virus, however chlorine bleach is the most effective and inexpensive agent that works, and is commonly used by veterinarians.
Without intense treatment, the victims of parvo die of dehydration. Treatment generally consists of IV or sub-cutaneous fluids and antibiotics. Veterinarians can only treat the symptoms palliatively, and try to keep the dog alive by preventing dehydration and loss of proteins. As there is no cure for any virus, treatment for parvo is mostly that of supporting the different systems in the body during the course of the disease. This includes giving fluids, regulating electrolyte levels, controlling body temperature and giving blood transfusions when necessary.
This is a very serious disease. Some puppies infected with parvovirus will die despite prompt and adequate treatment. While no extremely accurate statistics are available, a good guess is probably that 80% of puppies treated for parvovirus will live. Without treatment, probably 80% or more of the infected puppies would die.
We can only imagine how many pups die alone from slow dehydration due to parvo in the wild on Providenciales. They remain without names, and not ever having the gentle hands of a loving family. By taking in and fostering pups, we save the majority from ever coming in to contact with parvo, and those which do suffer are given all the support and treatment possible.
All of these potcakes that are rescued and taken in to care are all looked after by dedicated foster parents that open up their homes and their hearts to these needy souls. The latest of these saved litters are now bouncing around their new foster home in an area of the Island known as Turtle Tail.
At first only a little boy was spotted and picked up. His rescuer named him "Tommy"
He is a beautiful little boy, who just wants to be where the people of the household are at all times. He goes to great lengths not to miss out of the maximum number of cuddles.
Loving and very responsive. This is one little boy that you just can't ignore.
A few days later four more of his family were spotted and scooped up..
The other two Brothers:
A little more reserved then his other two Brothers. Very sweet, calm and sometimes a little shy.
and the incredibly inquisitive
"Tate" just knows what he wants and is very persistent in getting to where he wants to go. He is very Intelligent and is certainly the leader of the pack. Very Funny.
And the two Sisters:
"Chere" is a very calm and loving little girl, she loves being with her siblings and comes running as soon as you call her
And Last but not least....
Cute, lovable and very attentive.
They are about 6/7 weeks old and great fun to have around.
UPDATE 13 Apr 2007: These pups started running a temperature last week and were not thriving. We held back with them and realised that they could not find their forever homes until they were ready. Our volunteers worked with them through the nights to make sure they had the best chance and stayed hydrated, and the vets ran the tests for Parvo and Ehrlichia and all showed negative. They were given their second wormers and treatment for Coccidia (a condition which does not normally lead to complications).
Devastatingly, in the early hours of the morning, Risa, Owen and Tate passed away one by one, and Tommy couldn't fight on any longer earlier today. These pups were given names and were loved to the end, and we are glad they didn't have to fight alone in the wild.
The vet was shocked to discover that these pups died of Distemper. Distemper had not been seen previously on the island, and must have been brought in from an imported animal. The TCSPCA and Potcake Place now work together to vaccinate all of the Potcakes against this terrible disease.
Chere is the last survivor and we will stick by her and hope that she makes a full recovery. Please keep thinking about her.
UPDATE 17 Apr 2007: Chere had a relapse today and couldn't fight on.
This was a tragedy for this litter, and we feel for everyone involved in their care.
All foster pups are kept for 21 days in foster care, and given two sets of vaccines prior to being able to be adopted. This minimises any risk of the pups developing distemper after being homed.
Potcake is a term used for the community dogs of The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. Unfortunately, the situation of the pups does cross the islands. We are heartened when we hear of other agencies rescuing the pups:
"We adopted Maggie from a shelter that was sitting out front of our local Pets Mart. They told us the story of how her mother was rescued from the Bahamas, and she was pregnant with Maggie and a few other pups. They said the Potcakes have a rough time, and when I saw Maggie which her name was "Bay" at the time, I just knew we had to help her. I am so amazed at how well behaved that she is, and how fast she learns everything. I just wanted to let you know another great story to have for your web site. She was born in February 2006."
Happy First Birthday to Charlie
Charlie was one of 13 in his litter. He was saved from going to a shelter in the US.
Charlie is a Potcake through and through, and has been the foster big brother to many young pups in the past 6 months. He loves them all, and puts up with having his tail chewed, and pups using him as a slide. Charlie looks out for these Potcake cousins and understands where they have come from and that they need all the love he can give them.
Here are just a few of his foster pups:
One year old today, and he is still such a puppy at heart. He loves his cuddles, and always wants to lie on your lap. He doesn't quite realise how big he has grown. We all love him to bits, and wish him a very very happy birthday.
We received a call about a litter of 6 puppies here that were in desperate need of saving. A long time repeat visitor to the Islands had seen them and managed to bring them into the Vets and to us. They were starving and were covered in ticks, literally, covered. Any scrap of nutrition that they had managed to get from any bits of garbage they could find was immediately removed by all the ticks. They were bathed and our volunteers went at the task of carefully removing each and every tick. There must have been well over a hundred on each puppy.
We are really not sure if these little puppies, that are approx. ten weeks old will make it, but our volunteers are going all out to try and save them.
They are receiving medical care and most importantly love and attention.
Two of them in particular are in an atrocious state and just do not have the strength of inclination to feed themselves any more. So we are doing that for them. They started off flinching away from any attempt to cuddle their skeletal frames. But amazingly enough they are now trying to wag their tails when they see their foster Mom.
We will be updating this story.
Update 10 Nov 2006:
The girl died in her foster mom's arms just 48 hours after they had been brought home. Also, after two weeks of constant care and devotion, the tough decision was made to put one of the other little girls down. After extensive veterinary consultations, it was decided that she was just in too much pain to go on. The foster home was devastated.
Bruno, the little boy pictured above, began to thrive and is ready to go to his new home in Toronto. Ben, Bruno's brother, has also come so far and is ready to go to a new home.
Jimmy and Faith are still fighting on and we will keep you updated on their progress. We are not giving up on them.
Update 11 Nov 2006:
We are very pleased with how well Jimmy and Faith are coming along. We don't want to get our hopes up too much, but these puppies are so beautiful. They recently went on some day trips to the beach to meet some wonderful Potcake Place supporters that had returned on vacation. They had a wonderful time.
Paws crossed that they continue to thrive.
Meet the little boy 'Jimmy'
November 26th 2006: Jimmy has now jetted off to Florida. We are so happy that he is going to an amazing new home.
And the little girl 'Faith'
Faith is now on her own. She is the sweetest little girl, with the perfect mix of energy and calm. She has so much love to give.
December 2nd 2006: Faith is the last to leave, and has found her home in Philadelphia.
Four gorgeous pups came from nothing, and they have already touched all of our hearts. We will be following their success stories and taking heart from everything they do.
A sad ending....
This baby girl was found by a couple potcake lovers near their house. She was nothing but skin and bones and had lost the will to eat. They called their friend, another potcake lover, who agreed to try to nurse her back to health if possible.
She spent the night at her foster moms house, and even in her state she managed to win everyone over, including a dog named Blue. Blue, a fellow potcake, was also once in her state when he was a puppy...so he knew what it felt like to be where she is. Blue took care of the sick baby potcake all night. He laid with her, licked her head, and even moved her doggie bed (with her in it) from corner to corner so she could find the best place to rest.
The next morning the baby potcake was on her way to the vet. The foster mom was sure that she could be saved...she just needed alot of help. But what the vet told the foster mom was bleak. The puppy had barely any blood left in her body to keep living. All the fleas, ticks, ants and mosquitoes had drained it all away. He said the best thing for her was to be euthanized.
Her foster mom was crushed.....she spent only a day with this puppy but already had grown attached to this helpless creature. She begged for another option and the vet said the only thing that could save her was a blood transfusion. The chances were so slim and the cost was steep. Since the vet did not have any available canine blood in the clinic, the foster mom went back to her house to fetch Blue, the puppies new best friend. Blue donated his blood to try and save the puppies life.....The baby pup fought her little heart out during the transfusion...but half way through that same little heart stopped beating.
She died in the hands of someone, who knew her for only a few short moments, but loved her nonetheless....
She was named Sunshine....
Each day, hundreds, possibly thousands, of Potcakes fight to survive on Provo. They battle against disease, starvation, vehicles on the road, dehydration, rocks thrown by the unknowing, poison and more.
Every day, Potcakes wander in to back yards, on to construction sites, near to restaurants and resorts, searching for food, and looking for more. Most days, they leave hungry and keep on searching.
In July 2005, a forlorn wild pup wandered in to a back yard. Her skin was in bad shape, and she was as hungry as every Potcake in the bush. At 5 months old, people feared her and threw rocks when she came near. This day was different- she had found a yard, where the lady looked down from her balcony and saw a scared pup needing love. That moment is all it took. That changed the life of a Potcake, and a family.
"With a small amount of patience, she let us bathe and groom her. Once she was given a collar, she became much more settled. She is now a loving, devoted member of our family, and she gives us all the love in the world"- see Bonnie's Success story
It was the human population who first brought the dogs here. It is the human population who are responsible for their continued suffering. It is the human population who need to do something about it.
A small minority of Potcakes, form a pack to survive- as how else will they find the water, food and protection they need which comes from being in a group. The pack mentality then leads to problems.
Two volunteers were driving home and saw a pack of dogs, but they also saw that these were a group of 15 individuals. The more they looked, the more they saw- including collars on some, wounds on others. As they pulled over, to get out of the car to see if any of the 'pack' would come to them, the individuals dispersed in all directions, and the volunteers had to move on.
The next morning, one of the volunteers was driving back along the same road, and saw a Potcake on the side of the road, with a collar on. At first glance, she could have easily driven on, thinking that this was an owned Potcake sitting in his drive way. However, there was something familiar about this Potcake, and he looked sad and forlorn. She pulled over to see if she could read the tag, and then recognised it as one of the 'pack' from the night before. Getting out of the car, the Potcake looked at her with sad sad eyes, tail between his legs, but trying to wag at the same time.
Looking at the tag, this Potcake was a family pet and had been used to sleeping on a bed with his owner, and eating regular meals in a loving environment. His owner had left the island several months before. His owner left his four adult dogs to fend for themselves. How can you imagine being loved one day and on the street the next with no means to feed yourself.
This Potcake let the volunteer carry him to her car, and put his head on her lap the whole way to the vets for a checkup. He is a loving dog who just wants security and cuddles. He found his second 'Chance'. Chance is now in foster care, and waits for a loving permanent home where he will be able to stay for all of his days.
We have to see the individual Potcakes, and save one at a time. They deserve more.
The alternative to leaving a Potcake behind:
28 Nov 2006 "The snow was up to her chest and she looked like an energiser bunny bouncing around. it was so fun to see her trying to lick, eat and chase after snowballs. She's having a great time up here so I can testify to potcakes adapting to wherever we chose to live with them."
A thin, thirsty Potcake wandering around a construction yard- an every day occurrence on Provo. Busy workers, get on with what they are doing, as the Potcake searches for water and food, and finds scraps amidst the debris. A painful life.
When one person notices and thinks to make a life better, that is all it takes.
A caring lady saw that one Potcake needed more food and water than it was finding near where she worked. She left a water bowl out, and saw how much it was needed. The Potcake didn't ask for much, and just lay in the shade day in and day out, drinking the water and taking any food that was provided. She looked at the lady and her co-workers with a thankful face. She touched so many hearts in a short period of time that she became the company mascot and was named 'Molly Pearl'.
Upon a visit to the Vets, Molly Pearl was found to be suffering from Ehrlichiosis and Heartworm. She would have died a slow, painful death if no one had stopped to think. Instead, Molly Pearl got the treatment she needed, and enjoyed several months of loving human company. She began to smile with a Potcake smile and wag her tail every day when her family arrived for work. She had turned from a scared, starving Potcake, in to a happy family companion.
Molly Pearl gave more back than her new owners could have ever imagined. They had changed her life by providing her with food, water and love, and she changed their lives by being so thankful every day.
As she was more healthy, it was time for her to be spayed. Sadly, there were complications when she was found to be carrying four pups already. The Vet told the distraught owners that she would have died giving birth and that her babies would have also contracted the disease.
Her heart was not strong enough, and she passed away on September 13th 2006 at 9pm.
We will remember Molly Pearl and we thank those that took the time and made her happy in those few months. She was a lucky Potcake to have so many people who cared and will always remember her.
" She let us know every day that she was happy to be around."
This Potcake was given a name along with love and affection, and she died without suffering. All Potcakes deserve this dignity.
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