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It was a busy day at work. The mountainous paper work on my table succeeded in keeping me engaged until one of the prettiest Boerboels ever, walked into the clinic. On enquiry, I discovered that the Boerboel’s owner wanted to register his dog and start it’s routine vaccination immediately. While registering, I was told his Boerboel puppy was named Jack and that Jack was a Rottweiler.
A Tan Rottweiler??? That couldn’t be! The dog was OBVIOUSLY a Boerboel. Apparently, Jack’s owner was an uninformed first time owner who had been deceived by the seller that the dog was a Rottweiller. He was finally convinced otherwise when I showed him a chart displaying pictures of different breeds. He was livid! He told us to stop the registration, insisted that he had been duped and so was returning the puppy. Thankfully, I was able to persuade him to keep Jack arguing that Jack would make a great dog and deserved a loving home too.
So I proceeded to examine Jack. To my surprise, I discovered that “Jack” was actually a female dog. I asked Jack’s owner why he named a female dog, “Jack”, he replied saying “Jack” was the only dog name he knew. I explained to him that Jack was a nice name but masculine and inquired if he wouldn’t mind naming her “Jackie” instead. He agreed. Thus, my love story with the pretty but shy Jackie began.
A few weeks afterwards, I got a call from Jackie’s owner stating that she was vomitting and having bloody diarrhoea concurrently. I asked a few more questions and asked him to bring Jackie to the clinic as soon as he could. My heart sank.
There was an ongoing outbreak of the highly contagious parvoviral infection (a fatal disease of puppies) and though Jackie had gotten 1 out of the 3 shots of the DHLPP vaccine, I knew very well that wasn’t enough to protect her.
She came, we carried out a quick lab test and our worst fears were confirmed.
Jackie had parvo! Jackie’s owner almost cried. I gave him the grave prognosis (50-50 chance of survival) and promised to do our best to save her.
Then the support therapy started. Jackie was admitted and placed on infusions for about 3 days. By the 4th day, she could get up and drink water by herself but she was so weak, she would barely lap some water before lying back down, fatigued. She was so pale and had lost her joie de vivre. I was worried. Jackie had become so dear to me, I didn’t want to lose her.
The days her owner couldn’t come around, he would call to find out how she was doing. He loved her so much and would continually “harrass” me saying, “Doc, Jackie mustn’t die o.” I always told him we would try our best but was honest enough to give him a true picture of events. Many times too, I encouraged him to pray. I prayed as well.
By the 7th day, I tried semi solids, she ate very little and that gave me hope. After that she continued to improve each day. After 2 weeks, she was ready to go home.
Jackie’s long recovery defied all expections as many didn’t expect her to make it most especially because of the high mortality that is common with Parvovirus infection.
For this, I am glad she stayed strong enough to pull through.
Dr Gloria Bakare-Adesina (fondly called Dr. Gbaks) is a small animal veterinarian who enjoys interactions with furry creatures. She can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also on Instagram: @DrGbaks