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What is parvovirus? Puppy found floating down river in box was ‘crashing’ because of deadly infection

Kayak was hospitalized and clinic staff and volunteers treated him and administered antibiotics, IV fluids, and medications
A man rescued Kayak the puppy he discovered floating in a box on a river in Texas, the pooch is now at a shelter ready to be adopted (Austin Pets Alive)
A man rescued Kayak the puppy he discovered floating in a box on a river in Texas, the pooch is now at a shelter ready to be adopted (Austin Pets Alive)

AUSTIN, TEXAS: A Texas puppy with a deadly infection, parvovirus, was rescued by a man after he saw it floating in a box in a Texas river. The dog is currently in a shelter looking for a new home.

Austin Pets Alive! which launched earlier this month, received a call from another shelter in the area telling them they were unable to help the man who had arrived with the puppy he had discovered floating on a river.


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According to Austin Pets Alive! a two-month-old black Labrador retriever mix puppy tested positive for parvovirus, a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease. The virus, which affects the digestive system of dogs, can spread through direct contact between dogs, contact with infected feces, the environment, or contact with people. It can also infect the hands, clothing, food, water bowls, collars, leashes, and kennel surfaces of people who handle dogs. Unvaccinated dogs and puppies under four months old are most at risk are becoming infected.

The dog's rescuer drove two hours to the Austin Pets Alive! center after the two shelters made contact. The puppy with parvo was taken to the intensive care unit. The dog was successfully treated at this shelter, which is one of the few parvo intensive care units in the country.

The puppy, later named Kayak, was "crashing," lethargic, and pale, medical clinic director Lauren Heymann told FOX 7. Volunteers and clinic staff treated Kayak after he was admitted to the hospital, including giving him IV fluids, antibiotics, and antiemetics. In addition, they gave him nutrition with a syringe.

Because Kayak was so sick, his personality did not come out right away. The shelter reported that the puppy got better over the next few days as he was cared for and treated, ate more and his weight increased to 18 pounds.

"Now that he’s tested negative, he’s back to his old tail-wagging ways," Austin Pets Alive! wrote on Facebook. "He’s eager to learn about this big world he’s in!" 

Kayak is now up for adoption, at the Austin Pets Alive! Town Lake Adoption Center.