WIN THE PARVO BATTLE

Keeping your dog healthy has a new, powerful tool.

A year ago I had the misfortune to bring canine parvovirus to my home where I occasionally breed cairn terriers and European Dobermans, after a very brief excursion to a pet shop in The Dalles with a fully vaccinated 18-week-old puppy. The pup was saved, but the damage had been done—my property was now infected with parvo, a hardy, long lived virus almost impossible to kill in the outside environment.

Despite efforts to decontaminate my property, the next two litters were affected, some more severely than others, but the ugly fact was I was living the parvo nightmare. As a breeder I saw no real alternative but to stop all breeding for a year to give my property time to “clear.”

After working as an animal control officer for two decades and being involved in breeding purebred dogs for half a century, I thought I knew everything there was to know about parvo vaccinations and the immediate future looked grim. There was nothing out there, I felt, that could prevent the risk to my pups.

And then—a seeming miracle: good friend and dog-activities-buddy Amy Gasparovich, who herself breeds Boston terriers, did some research and came upon a low-profile vaccination called NeoPar which offered what others seemed not to—the ability to reliably override the mother dog’s own immunity. The reason puppy shots are given in a series, one shot every few weeks until the puppy is approximately 16 weeks old, is that the first few shots are generally knocked out by the mother’s immunity, coming to the pups through her milk. Since no one knows at exactly what point the mother’s immunity dies out, vaccinations are boosted regularly to try and give protection during these “holes” in immunity. These holes in the protection between mother’s milk and man-made vaccine is why puppies can—despite regular vaccinations—contract disease. One reason NeoPar is low profile is that it has always been primarily a product used by professional breeding establishments and home kennels. The reason, according to Bob Page, one of the original developers of the vaccine along with John Black of the University of Tennessee, is that, “We’re a small company; we have a niche market… our focus is mainly on the breeding industry. You’ve got to get into early life to prevent this disease.” While the term “breeding industry” may sound alarming, there are in fact legitimate and well-run large-scale kennels that rely on NeoTech products such as guide dog and police dog breeding facilities.

And that—early prevention and protection—is what NeoPar offers. Since the average practicing veterinarian does not start vaccinating puppies until they are brought to the office by their new owners, anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks of age, the “early age” (NeoPar is first administered at 35 days of age) feature is not useful to them. Also, most pet owners want multiple diseases covered in one injection—and NeoPar only protects against parvovirus.

When Amy first brought this product to my attention, I argued with her that no shot could override the mother’s immunity—but that was “Old School Jessup” talking. I was amazed to find that NeoPar was actually the first parvo vaccine ever developed—and still considered the gold standard—but because of their lack of advertising (NeoTech has no advertising department) and focus on professional breeders not practitioner veterinarians, they can slip under the radar. According to Dr. Ben Halter, who works for NeoTech, most breeders “find us after they get in a parvo situation”—just as I had.

So, several months after having started the NeoPar protocol with my dogs, I am shouting “NeoPar” from the rooftops.

The two most important features of NeoPar are: the early age at which a person can offer their pup(s) protection, and the fact that the initial dose can offer serious protection. The initial parvo vaccine is recommended to be given at 35 days of age; however, after speaking with Dr. Hatler at NeoTech LLC, for my specific circumstance vaccines could be given as early as 28 days, offering unprecedented protection despite mom’s immunity.

Thanks to friend Amy—and NeoTech—the heavy cloud of doom and gloom hanging over my dogs and I has lifted. And I want to share the good news in order to help other area dog breeders, their animals, and their puppy buyers.

NeoPar can be purchased directly from NeoTech, or through better animal health outlets such as Jeffers and Revival. Or you can ask your veterinarian to carry it. I suggest strongly that you do your own research, speaking with your veterinarian and accessing the information on the NeoTech website.

While speaking with NeoTech staffer Dr. Ben Hatler, he was kind enough to also give me his complete puppy worming and vaccine protocol, as he stressed that puppies with intestinal challenges such as internal parasites, giardia, or coccidea are more likely to be susceptible to disease such as parvo.

For my fellow dog breeders, of which there are quite a few in Klickitat County, I present the protocol I developed after speaking with Dr. Hatler and which has worked wonderfully for me. I have not had a single case of parvo since I started this.

To treat for Coccidea:

Product: 10% Toltrazuril (Horseprerace.com)

Dose: 1cc per 10 pounds of puppy

Schedule: Administer on day 4 (after birth) then at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 weeks.

To Treat for Hookworms and Roundworms (passed by mother’s milk)

Product: Pyrantel pamoate aka Nemex 2 (available from feed stores)

Dose: 5cc per 10 pounds of puppy

Schedule: Dose on day 7, 14, 21, 27, 35, and 42.

To Treat for Worms/Giardia

Product: 10% Safeguard Goat Wormer

Dose-Dam: This starts with cleaning the mother dog out. Dose mom at 50 days gestation for 5 days.

Dose: Pups: Day 1 – 2ccs per 4 pounds of body weight. Day 2 through 5 – 1cc per 4 pounds.

Schedule: 5 weeks – dose for 7 days. Repeat at 7 weeks and again at 9 weeks for any remaining pups.

Vaccination Schedule – Parvo, distemper and adenovirus type 2

Product(s): NeoPar parvo vaccine and NeoVacD

Schedule: 35 days of age NeoPar, 42 days of age NeoVac2, 58 days of age NeoPar, 70 days of age NeoPar and NeoVac2, 98 days of age NeoPar and NeoVac2.

Please be aware that while it is perfectly legal for you to treat your own dogs, you cannot offer your services to others for pay without a veterinarian license. As well, some of the suggestions are well established but “off label” use. Always consult your veterinarian with any questions.