Maddie Apprentice Information


Thank you for your interest in becoming a Maddie Apprentice for the Austin Pets Alive! Parvo Program! We're excited to have you. This document contains required and option learning materials to be completed prior to yoru apprenticeship. If you have any questions, please email

Video: Parvo in Shelters

Dr Sandra Newbury's 2014 Webcast presentation provides a great, in-depth background on parvovirus which is important for understanding our protocols. Learning goals have been provided below for the key-points to understand. Special considerations concerning our own program are included below as well. A presentation handout and quiz can be found at the source below.

Source: Maddie's Website

Length: 98 minutes

Learning Goals:

  • Parvovirus 101: understand why parvo is so hardy, how it spreads, clinical signs,
  • Course of Parvo: incubation period, duration, shedding
  • Vaccinations: understand reasons for re-vaccinations in puppies, significance of maternal antibodies, frequency, window of susceptibility
  • Dose Effect: understand difference between mitigating risk vs eliminating all particles of virus from an environment
  • Testing: understand testing antigen vs antibodies, reasons for false negatives, positive tests should be paired with clinical signs
  • Sanitation: understand how long the virus can survive in environment, organic material effects on disinfectants, which disinfectants do and do not work with parvovirus, footbath effectiveness,
  • Holding Periods: understand the risks of holding periods for puppies
  • Evaluating At-Risk Dogs: understand how to use the incubation period to determine exposure time, criteria for evaluating high vs low risk population
  • Basics of Treating


  • Austin Pets Alive! uses the IDEXX SNAP Parvo Test. In other experience, other tests have produced lots of false positives for some of our patients, resulting in them being exposed.
  • Dr. Newbury's presentation states that the virus is shed for <2wks after clinical signs resolve. At APA!, we have found that the virus is no longer detected on an IDEXX SNAP (ELISA) Test after 2-4 normal bowel movements, which happens about 2-4 days after clinical signs subside. If the virus is shedding, it is in small enough amounts to not be detected on an ELISA test, nor spread to other susceptible populations in the shelter. Our parvo patients are generally in Isolation being treated for 7-10 days and tested out using the SNAP test before returning to the adoption floor.
  • Blood Smears are not done when we suspect a negative parvo test. Although a low WBC is a good indication of parvo, it is not a definitive answer, and we do not want to expose the dog to parvo in the Parvo ICU without confirmation. Instead, we quarantine the dog, provide treatment, and re-test in 24 hours.
  • False Positives: A nearby town's shelter, who we regularly take parvo patients from, started testing("screening test") ALL dogs on intake with the IDEXX SNAP Test, regardless of whether they where showing signs.This test is highly reliable when paired with clinical signs of parvo. The test has 99% Specificity, meaning it catches 99% of parvo negative cases as parvo negative. However, 1% of negative patients will test as (false) positive. As a result, for every 100 intakes at this town's shelter, they would send 1 false positive, healthy dog to our program which was then exposed to Parvo in our ICU. SNAP Parvo Tests are NOT to be used as a screening test, meaning they should only be used when you suspect parvo due to clinical symptoms!
  • The vast majority of our parvo patients became exposed/infected in the community and not in our shelter. Vaccination, sanitation, healthy puppy handling, and proper parvo isolation protocols, as discussed in the video, are all necessary to and can successfully prevent shelter outbreaks.
  • Because we have a dedicated Parvo Isolation unit, we do not need to use the "Clean Break" principles discussed in the video.
  • APA! does not do antibody testing. We are more likely to use vaccine history and age to determine risk.
  • We do one negative SNAP test, not two, to determine when a dog is ready to return to the adoption floor. We have had great success with this protocol. These tests are expensive and account for a large percentage of the parvo program budget.

Video: Our Parvo Program

Dr. Bardzinski and Katie Kresek's (Program Manager 2014-2016) 2015 Presentation is a good overview for our Parvo Program at Austin Pets Alive!

Optional Videos