Rescued from a small-scale Baltimore puppy mill last week, 8-week-old pups Flapjack, Penguin, Murphy, and Sadie are all fighting a potentially deadly virus, leaving two local rescue organizations hoping for donations to pay for their care.
The four puppies were some of 32 dogs found living in filthy cages without adequate food or water in a Baltimore city home last week. Twenty of the dogs were taken to the MD SPCA, and the rest were sent to other rescues, including Saving Grace Animal Rescue of Maryland, which relies completely on foster homes to care for the dogs and cats it places for adoption. A few days later, Murphy and Sadie began exhibiting symptoms of parvo (diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy) and were rushed to two emergency animal hospitals by their fosters.
"They went to the hospital last Saturday," says rescue volunteer Diana Maddox. Murphy remains at the Animal Emergency Hospital in Bel Air, and Sadie recovered enough to return to her foster family yesterday. "It’s incredibly expensive."
Tina Regester, director of communications for the MD SPCA, says Flapjack and Penguin, both lab mix puppies, are still being treated; they were initially taken to the Pet + ER in Towson and later transferred to Towson Veterinary Hospital, where they remain.
"They needed round-the-clock care," she says, adding that it’s going to cost about $5,000 to fully treat each pup for the virus. "They’re on antibiotics and they’re also being provided with fluids and anti-nausea medications to keep the vomiting at bay."
Parvo is a very contagious virus spread from dog to dog through their feces; it can happen when dogs are kept in dirty cages and in close proximity. It can attack the intestinal tract and cause permanent cardiac damage. Most dogs are vaccinated against parvo as puppies.
"The puppies’ treatment will continue for a few more weeks," says Regester. "They’re on the upswing and we’re optimistic, but this is a very dangerous virus."
She says all 32 puppies rescued last week are being closely monitored for symptoms.
Saving Graces Animal Rescue of Maryland, which is caring for Murphy and Sadie, says care will top $2,000 per pup, and that’s money they simply don’t have. The rescue is a 501(c)(3) charity and donations are tax-deductible; volunteers will provide receipts on request.
They are currently taking donations to care for Murphy and Sadie both on their website via PayPal and through an online YouCaring campaign. Updates on the pups can be found on Facebook and any money raised above what’s needed to care for them will be used for medical treatment for other animals that come into the rescue.
The MD SPCA is caring for Flapjack and Penguin with money from its KB Fund, which was established more than 10 years ago to care for a dog who’d been set on fire (he recovered). Money above what’s needed to care for the two will stay in the fund to help other animals who are injured or ill. Flapjack and Penguin updates are on Facebook and KB Fund donations are also accepted online. MD SPCA donations are tax-deductible.
Both rescues say the pups will be available for adoption when they are totally recovered and ready to go home with new families; the MD SPCA will have 20 pups looking for homes from last week’s rescue.