What is the APA! Parvo ICU?

Austin Pets Alive! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping the killing of Austin's adoptable dogs and cats. APA! accomplishes this goal by focusing on saving adoptable animals that are scheduled to be euthanized at the city shelter. You can learn more about Austin Pets Alive at www.austinpetsalive.org.

One group that was regularly euthanized in the city shelter was dogs with parvovirus. Dogs with parvo require intensive medical treatment in strict isolation, so many shelters often euthanize dogs who test positive rather than treating them either because they don't have the resources to provide the necessary medical care or because they are worried about spreading the virus to other animals in the shelter. Austin Pets Alive! has solved these problems by developing a volunteer-based parvo program that is able to treat parvo at a much lower cost than in a traditional veterinary hospital setting with a similar survival rate.

Now, when a dog at the city shelter tests positive for parvo, the shelter calls APA! with a deadline. An APA! transport volunteer picks up the dog from the city shelter and brings it to the Parvo ICU where the Parvo Team begin treatment. A typical parvo dog stays in the Parvo ICU for about a week, though a small percentage of dogs stay ten days or longer. While in the Parvo ICU, APA! veterinarians examine the dogs daily to determine treatments, which are then carried out by a dedicated group of highly-trained volunteers who together fill two shifts a day, 365 days a year.

Once a dog has recovered from parvo she has no lasting effects from the virus and is ready for adoption. Parvo survivors have normal, happy lives. Parvo survivors generally find forever homes very quickly because 90% of them parvo dogs are puppies less than a year old.

In 2014 the APA! Parvo ICU treated 462 dogs with an 86% survival rate.

If you are interested in volunteering in the APA! Parvo ICU you must first become an APA! volunteer. Once you are an APA! volunteer, email the parvo manager at parvo.manager@austinpetsalive.org for more information.