Simple SummaryThe 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.


  • Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious and relatively common virus that causes substantial morbidity and mortality in dogs worldwide [1,2]

  • In examining the survival rates, we primarily examined the distribution of survival rates on a monthly level as this data set spans the entire 11.5 years of operational history from 2008 to 2019

  • Note that this analysis can be useful in understanding expected variability in this outcome measure, the critical statistic was not found via taking the means of the survival rates, but rather via taking the overall number of survived animals divided by the overall population (4438/5127 = 86.6%)

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Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious and relatively common virus that causes substantial morbidity and mortality in dogs worldwide [1,2]. The cost of treatment can be $1000 to $2000 (USD), indicating that financial constraints may be a factor in disease-related euthanasia [6,7]. Nonprofit rescues and shelters may often opt to euthanize infected dogs, both due to financial constraints and as a potential disease control tactic, given the highly contagious nature of the illness. (APA!), a nonprofit, private shelter in Austin, Texas, espouses the philosophy of saving the animals most at risk for euthanasia for treatable/manageable conditions (a so-called, No Kill philosophy) [8,9,10,11]. Since 2008, APA! has implemented a protocol to treat CPV-infected dogs in a quarantine environment [12], averaging several hundred dogs a year


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