I had Chaco for a little over a month when he came down with Parvo. I had no idea what it was at the time and had never even heard of such. For those that are curious here is what wikipedia has to say about Parvo.
"The disease is highly infectious and is spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces. It can be especially severe in puppies that are not protected by maternal antibodies or vaccination. The common signs of the intestinal form are severe vomiting and severe haemmorhagic (bloody) diarrhea. Treatment often involves veterinary hospitalization. Vaccines can prevent this infection, but mortality can reach 91% in untreated cases."
I took Chaco to the Vet on a Sunday because he had been throwing up all weekend and didn't move a muscle all day Saturday. You have to understand he is a Lab, and by nature they are extremely hyper, so I knew something wasn't right when he slept all day Satuday and wouldn't come out of his crate Sunday morning. He had zero energy and was extremely dehydrated. I have never owned a dog before, so I didn't know what to be looking for that may throw up red flags.
The first thing out of the Vet's mouth when I took him in was "Parvo." The first thing out of my mouth was "whats that?" Basically as he explained it, Chaco's digestive system was shutting down on him, he wasn't able to keep and food or liquids down therefore causing dehydration and loss of energy. The vet suggested I leave him there to get put on a I V. I asked him what the chance was that I might lose Chaco, he told me since I caught it early enough he should be fine but there was still a chance he wouldn't make it. Then he asked if I had any more dogs, I said yes we have 2 other puppies at the house. He told me it was imperative to have my roommates bring them in right away so they could get a booster shot. He said take anything that Chaco has come in contact with and wash it or throw it away. He said we needed to mop every room in our house and make sure there isn't any remains of Parvo left. Even though we did all this, the other dogs still had a chance of getting it, thats how contagious it is.
I asked him how Chaco could have got it? He told me its very easy for puppies to get it. It could have been someone who came to our house that happened to walk through a yard where a dog had it, and they tracked it in on their shoes. Could have been as simple as a car that went down our street had it on their tires. He said it can come from anywhere that another dog has had it.
A week at the Vet and a nice $400 bill later Chaco was fine. When I picked him up it was as though he had never had it, and that tail of destruction was wagging as if I had a huge treat in my hand. Luckily for the other dogs, they never contracted it and all is well.