Meet Oliver: Preventive Health in Puppies

The hardest part of our job is seeing puppies like this one, who are sick or even dying because they did not receive proper routine preventative care, like puppy vaccines and deworming.

Oliver was surrendered to the animal shelter because his family did not get him his puppy vaccines and deworming, and then when he got very sick, they could not afford to provide any medical care for him.

parvo puppy preventative health in puppies

Because Oliver was not brought in to the hospital until he was nearly dead, heroic measures were required to pull him through his illness. After being stabilized at Twin Trees, Oliver spent several days in the ICU at an Emergency and Critical Care facility in  Vancouver. He required several blood product transfusions and a feeding tube to survive his illness.

The worst part is that Oliver never would have needed our help in the first place, if only he had received proper preventative medical care, and treatment in a timely manner.

Most of the important life-threatening infectious diseases of puppies (like parvo and distemper) are nearly 100% preventable with modern day vaccines. The cost of treating a disease like parvo is 10 – 100 times the cost of prevention with vaccinations, with no guarantee of survival.

If you have a new puppy, REMEMBER THIS:

*** You MUST start puppy immunizations and deworming at 8 WEEKS on the dot- not a day later.***

Then booster every 3-4 weeks until at least 16 weeks old! Boosters are just as important.

Before you just go out and get a puppy, it is important to ask yourself:

  • Am I truly prepared for the time and financial costs of having a puppy?
  • Am I committed to the DAILY responsibility of feeding, caring for, picking up after, and spending time with a new family member for the next 10-20 years?
  • Have I created a budget and accounted for cost of preventative medical care (shots, deworming, spay/neuter- easily $1K within the first year) and the enormous medical costs associated with illness, injuries, congenital problems (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, brachycephalic airway syndrome in bulldogs, pugs, etc.) chronic health problems (skin problems, epilepsy, arthritis, diabetes), and emergencies?
  • A good test: can I afford medical insurance for my pet (usually $60-$100/month)?

If not, you might end up in a difficult situation if your pet developed a medical problem down the road.

You can meet more cute patients from the ER and find lots of free vet advice and tips on how to keep your pets safe from preventable emergencies in the Twin Trees Vet Pet Classroom.

Oliver’s donation was made in the loving memory of a really amazing dog, Ben The Dog.

The Whistler Animal Shelter (WAG) is a safe haven for the homeless and abandoned pets in Whistler and the surrounding communities.

You can read more about Oliver's story, or donate specifically to his fund by visiting Please consider donating to Whistler Animal Shelter Website (WAG)’s various funds, which help homeless pets get access to medical care.




Additional Resources:

WELCOME TO PET PARENTING 101! On this playlist, you will find all of the information that you need to be a responsible and informed pet parent, so that you can keep your furbaby safe from danger and be prepared for the worst case scenario. The year is 2020 and the days of being a "pet owner" are over. There was a time when pets were considered property, and people thought that if their dog got sick or broke a leg- "put it to sleep and get a new one." Our society's beliefs on the responsibilities of pet guardianship have evolved, but there is still a disconnect when it comes to giving pet parents the information that they need to be responsible and informed pet guardians.

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